The Corner

Elections

A Faceful of Squirrel Nuts: A Bad Election Night

Not long ago, I had a post about how I learned of a particularly tough loss, suffered by my football team. (College. My pro team has suffered unbearable losses too.) That led to a note from my colleague Carol Staswick, which I blogged about here. Carol learned of Obama’s reelection from her fellow patrons at the San Francisco opera house. They were awfully chipper. That was hard to take.

(Carol was for Romney, as I was.)

Now I’ve heard from the sterling Michael Lewis — the art historian and a contributor to The New Criterion.

. . . Although I teach at Williams College, my wife lives in Philadelphia. In 2008 I voted in Massachusetts and then drove to Philadelphia for the worst night of sleep in my life. A gleeful crescendo of car horns began around 1:00 a.m. and didn’t fade till dawn.

Four years later brought a different humiliation. I was on sabbatical, driving every few weeks to Williamstown to check in on the unoccupied house. I drove up to vote, dine with friends, and inspect the house before returning to Philadelphia.

Just as I was falling asleep, I heard a disconcerting early poll return from Pennsylvania. As I slept, my unconscious mind performed its electoral calculus. And in my sleep I suddenly knew that Romney wouldn’t win — not without a strong showing in Pennsylvania — at which moment I tossed over fitfully in my sleep, knocking my pillow to the floor, and plunging my face into the mattress.

But not exactly into the mattress. Instead, my face dropped right into a pile of beech nuts, which had been carefully stored between pillow and mattress — evidently by a squirrel who was using our chimney in my absence. In the darkness of that chilly empty house, when you knew that bad times were ahead for the country, nothing could have been more cruelly symbolic than to have your sleeping face plunged into a cold pile of squirrel nuts.

Still, it probably beats being surrounded by gloating San Franciscan smugness.

Yup. Pick your poison — but I’d definitely vote for the squirrel nuts over the San Franciscans.

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