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The Presidential Debate: How to Cheat in English Class

Some years before I earned my M.F.A. in writing, I dropped out of high school. Before I dropped out of high school I wrote a paper on Billy Budd which my teacher, a notorious hard-a**, read aloud to the class. This is not the moment that made me become an English professor or a writer. Because, you see, I had not read the book.

I report this with shame now (though let me be clear: I did write the paper, based on class discussions and lectures), but it makes a good frame for my blog about the presidential debate, which is recorded and waiting for me, but which I did not watch live.

The problem with not watching the debate live is that its “liveness” is the only exciting thing about it. Sure, the first time around we (that is to say, every single person who posts their status on my facebook page and I) hoped Obama would wipe up the stage with McCain’s Maverick underthings, but the Vice-presidential debate taught us that there is NO WAY TO LOSE one of these things, because unlike an election, there is no Supreme Court to decide . . .

Once it’s taken place, ideally with shots aplenty and your rowdy, like-minded friends around you, the luster wears off instantly. The pumpkins are pumpkins and you know when you press “play” that they are not going to turn into coaches. The other glass slipper has not dropped. It’s like watching the World Series on TIVO when your team has lost and you know it. (I think.)

So I turn to my sources and try to do a little analysis.

Here is what I gather: McCain uses the term “friends” as loosely as Facebook does. People feel nauseous, and while some are driving to undecided states, others are doing pagan dances and crossing fingers, toes and eyes. Yes, more than anything else, this election has brought prayer back into the lives of the largely godless lefties who litter my Facebook page.

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