Opinion » Bill Cope

McCain's White House

Get your goddamn frisbee outta my Rose Garden!


You won't be surprised to learn I would rather everyone in Idaho voted for Barack Obama, every last one of you. At this point, I am relatively confident he will be the next president and it would be absolutely delightful if Idahoans went against type and joined with our more suave and debonair sibling states to the west—Oregon and Washington—instead of always standing out in the corn maze stubble with those embarrassing country bumpkins, Utah and Wyoming.

With that said, though, I'm not going to hold my breath until an Idaho majority picks brains over how a candidate looks in blue jeans. There are simply too many voters hereabouts whose brains are in their blue jeans for that to happen anytime soon. Furthermore, as I have long considered Idaho to be the northernmost deep-South state in the union, we still have far more than our share of individuals who see brains in a black man as some sort of Yankee plot. And of all the mental health issues with which conservatives must deal, racism may be the most pernicious.

Happily for Obama, he won't need Idaho's four electoral votes to move his family to Pennsylvania Avenue. Yet in the unlikely event that John McCain wins, I thought it would be helpful to my readers if I were to educate them on what to expect from, and how to behave around, the oldest man to ever become president of the United States. I realize many of you—especially you youngsters who may be voting for the first time—have not had the opportunity to enjoy much time in the company of senior citizens, as there's a good chance your own grandparents are spending winters in Arizona and summers on the road in that Winnebago they spent half of their retirement on, in spite of the fact that both Gramps and Granny have had their driving privileges revoked. Or possibly, they are in an assisted living home over in Nampa and you'll go visit as soon as the election—and kayaking season, Bronco football, hunting season, the holidays, ski-dooing season, next year's Stanley Cup playoffs and the repairs on I-84—are over.

For whatever reason, many of the nuances of what it's like to be living on the periphery of the average life expectancy are beyond the ken of average whippersnappers, either from an absence of geezers in their lives, or from the willful ignoring of the geezers in their lives. So today, I mean to provide a few of those nuances, little details to look forward to with a McCain presidency.

Let us proceed, before I forget what I was going to say.

• When your phone rings and the answering message kicks on, if there's a momentary pause, then the click of the caller hanging up, it's probably President McCain trying to reach you. Old people hate answering machines. Answering machines throw them completely off, like when you expect your girlfriend at the door and it's your ex-wife instead. Old people don't know what to say into an answering machine, and rather than sounding foolish or fumbling their words, they prefer to hang up.

But if you just wait a minute while he rehearses in his mind what he wants to say, President McCain may call back. I suggest you watch the caller ID to decide whether you want to answer or not. And don't worry about President McCain thinking you are screening your calls, because old people don't know about caller ID, either.

• Should you ever have the opportunity to speak to President McCain, don't talk too fast. That's definitely something else old people hate ... fast talkers. It's why they don't go to Jim Carrey movies or listen to Ann Curry on the Today show. (There's a good reason Andy Griffith is their favorite entertainer, and that's because if you took every line Andy has delivered throughout his entire career, it would come out to about 45 seconds worth of dialogue if Tom Cruise were saying it.)

Now, we all know how young people like to rattle out sentences like a machine gun spews lead. It is my opinion that it makes them feel like they are multi-tasking or that they are X-treme go-getters or something. But not only do old people detest fast talkers, they detest multi-tasking and X-treme anything. So when President McCain asks for your input, take a deep breath, measure your words—I suggest no more than one per second—and for God's sake, don't be trying to text message someone at the same time.

Oh, and talk loud. You wouldn't want President McCain thinking you'd said "Mother pissant, the nachos are utter gack," when what you really said was, "Mr. President, the nation is under attack."

• It's improbable that President McCain would be driving himself somewhere after dark. But if he is, just pull over to the side of the road and wait until he's at least four blocks ahead of or behind you, depending on which direction he's going—which even he may not know since old people can't see street signs very well, even in broad daylight. Old people don't like driving at night. First of all, they enjoy looking around at the passing scenery so they can tell you what they did there once, and secondly, the oncoming traffic lights are a killer. Especially those halogen headlamps. It's like staring into the sun for old people.

Thankfully, John McCain will have eaten his evening meal at least four hours before the sun goes down and he's more than likely to be in bed and fast asleep before you ever leave the house.

• Speaking of houses, if President McCain comes to yours, make sure he is seated in the chair nearest the bathroom. It's something I'd rather not explain. Just do it. And hide the Viagra.

• In any discussion with President McCain about the current state of Internet security, be careful not to use the word "hack." To old people, "hacking" is something entirely different than what you might think as a techno-savvy young person. Unless you have a cat. Then you know what I mean.

• When speaking to President McCain face-to-face, try to avoid focusing on any skin discolorations you may see, even if Vice President Palin is looking at the same spots and licking her lips. And remember, to old people, nose hairs are a healthy sign. They mean at least something is still working.

• And lastly, never walk behind President McCain when he is climbing stairs, particularly within two hours after he's eaten. Don't ask me why, but somewhere around the age of 70, old people stop caring if anyone knows they farted.

Now you'll have to excuse me. There is more I meant to tell you, but for reasons beyond my control, I have to go see a man about a horse.