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Make every election day count

November 11, 2012
By KELLY VAN DE WALLE ( , Times-Republican

Voting is the Olympics of democracy, which explains why I stretch at the voting station prior to filling out my ballot. There are dozens of wrist-related injuries that occur every four years due to acute circle-shading atrophy and I refuse to be a statistic. However stretching is just part of my traditional voting regimen. I gear up and go all out ? just like America.

I wake up to Springsteen's "Born in the USA", take the shot of whiskey I laid out on the nightstand the night before and do between six and 200 one-hand pushups while staring at a picture of an F-16. Next it's time to get dressed, which consists of Toby Keith-approved boots (good for kicking butt and keeping my feet dry from puddles), tuxedo with tails, tricorne hat, American flag pin (no smaller than three American inches) and election ascot made of Brett Favre-approved denim. I top it off with a bowling brace on my voting hand, because the last thing you want at this stage is compromised wrist support.

Now it's time for a breakfast of pancakes I flip and pretend I'm serving at a local American Legion. Next I throw the pancakes away and eat an entire block of cheese (American) followed by dry Apple Jacks cereal while watching favorite scenes from the epic 1986 teenager-stealing-jets-to-retrieve-kidnapped-father-from-rogue-Middle-Eastern-country classic "Iron Eagle." Following this, dump six cherry-flavored Pixy Sticks into mouth and wash it down with six cups of coffee chugged directly from pot. Do sit-ups to failure while screaming "Geeoorrrge Waaaaasssshingtoooon!"

Get in car and drive purposefully to polling location to the tune of "Slow Ride." Ten minutes later return home after realizing I have no idea where my polling site is located.

After finding/driving to voting site begin series of chest bumps with other voters/people renewing their driver's licenses. Most realize I'm pumped for voting, not their renewed ability to legally operate a motor vehicle.

"Experienced" voting volunteers shamelessly begin flirting with me by courteously handing me a form to fill out. And in front of a crowd of people no less.

"Take this over there and fill it out," Voting Honey #1 says, our hands meeting briefly.

"Down girl" I'm forced to reply before things escalate any further between us.

Clearly her confused look was the result of her unexpected feelings for me.

I flex my ballot-circling arm intensely and sexily detach and reattach my voting brace. Unfortunately there's no time for this; America needs me. But she persists.

"Do you need a pen?" she flirted, brazenly.

"Thanks, but I brought my own," I replied, revealing my feathered goose quill and separate ink container from their respective holsters.

Proceeded to voting "booth"/Toys "R" Us Homestyle Play Kitchen. Hands shaking due to excitement or coffee sugar slam.

"Down, Warren G. Harding," I say to my eager right fist. "You'll make Ruth Bader Ginsburg (left hand) jealous."

Bust out iPod and select "Let's Do This" playlist. First song? "Living in America" by James Brown. Second song? The theme to Ghostbusters. Crisis! Almost voted for the "other guy" because I accidentally hit "shuffle" and ears were subjected to one of wife's overly twangy country songs. Disaster averted when quickly jumped ahead to the theme from "Saved By the Bell." Back on track.

Feeling small circles didn't do this task justice, I drew a small portrait of my candidate on some white space at the bottom of the ballot with charcoal followed by a few "happy trees" as a tribute to the late Bob Ross.

After portrait was complete I knocked on the Playschool wall and whisper-asked voting neighbor what she was putting for question #6. No response. What a nerd.

Finished ballot by listening to that one magical Adele song where she sings so pretty about pain or love or cheese sticks or something. Just let the moment linger like the smell walking into Hardees on a sweltering summers day.

Returned to Voting Honey #1 feeling as though I just showered naked beneath a crisp waterfall of filtered Bud Light Platinum while being gently fluffed dry by 50 bald eagles. I sniffed the air.

"You know what that smell is?" I asked. "Democracy. And I'll be darned if it doesn't get my blood pumping like a saber-toothed lion hunting a mammoth."

Not surprisingly she was rendered speechless.

Per usual, I folded my ballot in half and sealed it with a lipstick kiss to make it count more. I was disappointed when the voting machine didn't make a satisfied "nom nom nom" sound after feeding it so I did it softly to myself. Then loudly to others to liven up their voting experience.

Now for the reward. I leaned in to Voting Sticker Honey.

"Sir," she said, breathily, because she was smitten with me and also possibly because she was attached to an oxygen tank. "Please pull down your shirt. I'm not going to put the sticker on your chest. Here's your sticker. Please leave."

"I understand," I replied, sadly. "We don't want to make this any harder than it already is. I'm married, after all."

Got back in car and pulled out purchased boxing trophy from glove box. Stickers are nice but trophies are much more satisfying. Ate bacon.

Finally rushed home to create tiny voodoo dolls of everyone I knew and forced them to circle tiny ballots of the candidate of my choosing.

I can't believe we only get to do this every four years!


Kelly Van De Walle is the senior creative & marketing writer for Briscoe14 Communications ( He can be reached at or once every four years after he emerges from his voting sarcophagus. Follow Kelly on Twitter @pancake_bunny if you love America.



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