Well, I guess, yesterday I lost a friend.
I was at work and I saw my buddy, Paul, filling out some official looking form. At first glance, it looked like a US government form for taxes or a passport. I asked him what he was doing.
“I’m absentee voting,” he said.
“Oh, don’t do that,” I warned.
“If you absentee vote, then when you submit this document, you’ll have to submit proof that you paid taxes. It’s too much trouble to provide the paperwork.” I answered.
He got angry and seemed very agitated. “I’ve got to vote this time. It’s too important.” He glared at me. He was almost shaking.
“Why bother? One vote is not going to matter.” I dismissed.
Trying to hold in his impatience, he dropped his pen and looked me straight in the eye. “Well, no matter what you say, I’m voting.”
I already knew who he was voting for. He’s been very vocal about it at work to everybody while promoting his candidate. He already knows that I am an anarchist and I think the entire American political system, as is the Japanese political system, is a farce.
Paul gave a sigh of frustration. “Obama is the best chance we have to recapture American freedom. He’ll fix the economy, end the Iraq war, and put the necessary regulations on the banking system that we need to stop the corruption.”
“Goldman Sacks — or was it Morgan Stanley? — I can’t remember — was Obama’s biggest financial donator, you know.” I calmly added.
His blood pressure shot up 20 points. “That’s not true. Rogers, where did you hear that?” Now he was mad.
“Look it up on the Internet yourself.” I offered him a cookie.
He scowled at the cookie, shook his head in frustration and waved me off. He was really getting — how do you Americans say — pissed off at me.
“Well, who would you vote for? You wouldn’t vote for McCain, would you? What’s wrong with Obama?” He steamed.
“Dude, they’re two sides of the same coin. Obama’s biggest plus is that he’s black, so maybe he understands the problems of being lower on the totem pole in society, but I doubt it. Fact of the matter is that, if I did vote, I’d probably vote for McCain. At least that way the Democrats wouldn’t have control of both congress and the Whitehouse. If McCain was president, then maybe we could have a government in deadlock so they couldn’t pass any laws or do too much bad to us. Also, McCain is a geezer so maybe he’ll grace us with a “William Henry Harrison” while in office and that Palin chick would be president. She’s so discredited that perhaps, God willing, the government would come to a grinding halt like the Wehrmacht at Stalingrad.” I said that last part in my best, "Mein Furhrer, it’s verking" accent.
Paul’s disgust showed in his eyes that were, by now, as wide as eggs. “Rogers, you are certifiably crazy.”
I took that as a compliment and offered him a cookie again. “These are pretty good, dude. Try one.”
Paul was definitely upset. No, he was angry. But we were at work so he couldn’t make a scene. I hadn’t chuckled like that since the last time I got to the mailbox to pick up the new Victoria’s Secret catalogue before my wife did.
He began to ignore me and continued to fill out the form while I sat and watched. He kept sneaking irritated glances at me from the corner of his eye. When he finished he smugly smirked at me and signed his name. As he was folding the form up and about to put it in the envelope, I stood up and gave him a few friendly pats on the shoulder and I walked away. Just before I stepped out the door, I said, “Paul?
Gritting his teeth, he said in exasperation, “Yes, Mike.”
“Hate to mention this to you, but you misspelled the name. There’s a ‘C’ in Barack. You spelled it Barak… But I guess it doesn’t matter.”
Mike (in Tokyo) Rogers [send him mail] was born and raised in the USA and moved to Japan in 1984. He is the president of a mass-media production company and also runs a talent agency in Japan. He is now the Producer/Director/Co-host of Good Morning Garage, the most popular FM radio morning show in Tokyo. His book, Schizophrenic in Japan, went on sale in 2005.