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Unconventional Thinking

At the risk of revealing what a total nerd I am, I confess that I love the national conventions, either party. I am an Independent, who is completely fed up with both parties, Grand Ole or Dems, elephants or jack… er, uhm, donkeys.

My interest began in 1976 when I was fourteen years-old. Since I was fed fried everything when I was growing up, my gastrointestinal problems started early. I had some odd pains in my side that I now know were directly related to the amount of grease I ingested, because that pain comes on now when I eat food high in fat content.

My mother grew up on a cotton farm, where grandma always had at least two gardens. Mother learned about the four food groups in her home economics class, and the food groups were always well-represented on the kitchen table; but, their preparation was less satisfactory. That is not to suggest that it tasted bad. Mother cooked good! But nutritionally speaking, the food suffered by mother’s methods. For instance, she did not like for her rice to stick, therefore she rinsed it in a colander, much like she did pasta. If meat was not fried, it probably came out of a can. Vegetables were mostly fresh and often from one of grandma’s gardens; but then again, they might have emerged from a can purchased at the A&P. Milk was always available. Bread was always on the table, white bread, bleached, white bread. It was tasty and I got nutrients… and mysterious pains in my side.

Mother loved the emergency room and we went often. Whether it was for my side pains or her feeling like she was going to faint, which never stopped her from driving, we were well acquainted with the medical staff. Mother had our family doctor’s home phone number and she used it often. Finally in 1976, my good doctor quit trying to guess what was wrong with me and had me hospitalized for tests. Back in the good old days, there were no outpatient tests, except “samples,” blood samples, urine samples, and stool samples. I was not going to have samples taken, so I was required to be in the hospital overnight, and then another night, and another. I was in for three days for what would now be a “prep at home first and we’ll get you in for a few hours, and then send you home” procedure.

I had an upper GI (gastrointestinal) test. All I had to do for this test was drink some chalky substance while I was x-rayed. My healthy organs were not inflamed during the test because I had fasted the night before, so my young organs looked fantastic! The lower GI was scheduled after the upper GI looked fine. This test was more intimate and I will spare you the details, except that I didn’t get to swallow the substance that went into my body. Again, after fasting the night before and having bland food menus before that, my organs were beautiful.

In total, I was in the hospital for three days, three days in the era where there were only three broadcast stations on the television. Those particular three days happened to be when the Democratic National Convention convened and it was covered wall to wall on all three stations. I had nothing to do, but refrain from eating and watch TV, except for one evening when I cleansed my colon. Other than that, I watched the DNC. Several distasteful metaphors could be made here about politics and colons. Use your imagination.

I was quite underwhelmed with the DNC, until Barbara Jordan gave the keynote address. It seems silly to notice that a black person or a woman might speak anywhere anymore, but this was the first black person to address the DNC and also the first woman to do so. If you do not know who Barbara Jordan is, you must Google her. She is my hero, and she had been my hero since I was about nine. She played a significant role in the Nixon impeachment trials. I watched those, too. I hated Nixon. (I acknowledge my nerd status.)

Jordan grew up not too far from me, in Houston, Texas. This black woman from just down the road from me, got herself out of a racist Texas, educated herself, and then came home to become the Representative for Houston in Washington, D.C. Nobody I had ever listened to in my life, in Texas or on the television, spoke like her. I hate to say that she just sounded smart, but when you Google her, be sure to listen to her speak. She had a remarkably distinctive speaking style!

Nixon resigned before Jordan could impeach him and that is one of the great disappointments of my life! But, here she was on my grainy, analog TV in the hospital making history. Ever since then, I really have been kind of hooked on the conventions. I missed many because others in the household would complain, but not this year. I live alone: I watch what I want.

I just got done watching Donald Trump accept the nomination for the Republican party; and, I am ready to watch everything again from the left point of view when Hillary Clinton says yes to the Democrats. If you can get past the vitriol and the offensive hardliners and the rah rah siss boom bah of it all, well you’re missing the whole point. I don’t agree with all that is said, but boy are the conventions entertaining! The Republicans outdid themselves this week with the melodrama. There were fights inside and outside the arena. Truly, they have set the bar high for the Democrats, which is why I will be watching.

Who will be the Ted Cruz party pooper for the Dems? Bernie seems too kind, but really he is the only one qualified to be that disgruntled. Unlike Trump who had a different kid speak each night, and even had one left over who didn’t get to, Hillary only has the one child. That’s a lot of pressure for Chelsea. Of course, Bill Clinton is likely to take up some oxygen in the room. My prayer is that he will plagiarize Melania Trump, or better yet, Michelle Obama. Truly, my one hope is that at least one speaker will be booed off the stage. It’s just too glorious not to happen again.

My expectation is that the DNC will be very well-behaved in contrast to the RNC. But, one can hope for a soap opera presentation anyway.

But, if I had one wish, it would be for Barbara Jordan to speak again. I miss her voice.