It's that time again. Every four years it creeps up on me like a colonoscopy: the presidential election. Campaign season produces symptoms in me that are similar to the medical examination: I can't eat, I feel as if I'm being hit from behind, and I need anesthesia to get me through it.
Fear of polyps is nothing compared with fear of politics.
Yes, I know - I am supposed to be grateful we are a free nation that enjoys such trappings of liberty. But I still dread it.
What difference can it make who becomes president when I can't believe what any of them say? It's not even their fault that they can't tell the truth because they won't know that truth until they are sitting in the Oval Office and they suddenly realize this is real. Thing is, the layers of government we have in place to protect us from someone who could be a really bad mistake still can't keep a president from making one. So why pay attention to all these debates? To discern who is the superior movie star?
No sir, I can't watch them. I'm so nonconfrontational, I can't even listen to benign banter on talk radio during a non-election year without breaking into a sweat and feeling my heart race. "Sports Talk" shaves years off my life. How can I tune in any presidential debate and maintain my sanity?
Instead, I pick up the paper and see that Hillary Clinton is "trying to maintain her composure" over a setback, while Mike Huckabee has people exercised about his religious beliefs. John McCain takes New Hampshire, Mitt Romney may take Michigan, and I have to take Tylenol (and call my doctor to request Valium).
Soon a new round of TV commercials will come, invading my nightly purposeless entertainment. Candidates will gripe and whine about what the other one did or didn't say, promised to do or can't, will or won't do to a) repair foreign relations and b) end global warming while c) ensuring medical insurance for everyone on the planet, along with d) blah, blah, blah.
Finally, November will come - but first we will have to endure Halloween, and you know what that means. Otherwise sensible adults will be dressed in Hillary pantsuits and McCain rubber bald heads. Perhaps I'd best jump online and order one of those Hillary nutcrackers before there's a run on them; they might go well with the bowls of nuts at my post-election party, when I can finally relax again and enjoy four more years of another less-than-stellar presidency. In four years I'll be that much older and wiser, and it won't matter because my hearing and eyesight may gloriously start to fade.
They tell me Hillary has won in New Hampshire, putting her back in the running. If she perseveres, what will I do with this nutcracker?
Kathleen Clary Miller is a writer in Missoula, Mont. Her book about Alzheimer's disease, "When Forgetting is a Gift," will be published this spring. Her e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.