Dear President Obama:
As you know, I’ve been teaching English at CSU Long Beach for well over ten years now. I’d like to think I have some modicum of wisdom and experience. Nonetheless, I made a very stupid mistake last week, the kind of mistake only an amateur makes. On the morning of Monday, November 7th, a wide-eyed, eighteen-year-old student approached me after class and asked if I planned to vote for Hillary Clinton. “My father’s a little on the conservative side and doesn’t support Hillary at all and… well… he demanded I ask you.” She seemed a little embarrassed when she said this.
I nodded. I tried to be as delicate as possible with the girl while still remaining truthful: “Listen, if it was up to me, I’d be voting for Donald Trump tomorrow just to spread as much chaos in this country as possible. That’s my thing. But you know what would happen if I crossed the ideological line and cast a vote for that joker? Do you know what would happen to me if my dirty little secret got out? This is what would happen: My communist comrades in the English Department would shank me with a sharpened toothbrush in the back nine times in a row in the communal showers on the ninth floor of the McIntosh Building. Did you know that all the professors shower together up on the ninth floor of the McIntosh Building? Well, now you know. The communal bathing chamber looks dank and depressing, a horrible place, like something out of Orange Is the New Black. What’m I supposed to do? You work up such a sweat teaching English Composition every day—you gotta stay clean, right? So I’ll be standing there in the communal showers scraping the Long Beach dirt off my flesh, singing old Woody Guthrie folk tunes, when some long-haired English professor wearing nothing but a black beret will yell out, “J’accuse!” and shank me right in the spine with a No. 2 Ticonderoga pencil, boom boom boom, real fast, just like that. Shank, shank, shank, and it’s all over. There I’ll be, lying in a pool of my own blood, my life essences swirling down the drain, the camera closing in on my unblinking eye as I try not to hear the sound of my bearded colleague yodeling ‘The Internationale’ song so prevalent on CSUcampuses these days.” I performed an enthusiastic rendition of the stirring refrain, just in case the girl wasn’t familiar with it: “‘C'est la lutte finale / Groupons-nous et demain / L'Internationale / Sera le genre humain!’” I balled my fists at my side and said, “Now tell me: Will I wish I hadn’t voted for Donald Trump at that point? You bet your white ass I will! That’s why I have to vote for Hillary, sister. I have no choice. My very life—and the life of my beloved family—hangs in the balance!”
My student just looked at me for a few moments, mouth agape, then replied, “You professors… you all shower together?”
“A horrid image, is it not? I won’t invite you to see the showers in person, because it’s a sight you’ll never be able to unsee.” Here my voice lowered in a whisper. “But if you want, you can sneak up there after hours and check it out yourself. It’s really wild. The communal showers in the McIntosh Building resemble some nightmarish, black and white, expressionist set used in an unusually depressing Fritz Lang film shot in the 1930s.”
I thought the student was going to say, “Who the hell’s Fritz Lang?” But instead she said, “What the hell’s ‘the 1930s’?”
I sighed and said, “Forget it, comrade. It’s better if you don’t know. Forget we ever had this conversation. There are ears everywhere. Loose lips sink ships and all that.”
She agreed to forget every seditious word my lips had so foolishly uttered.
Alas, little did I know that one of my Marxist colleagues in the Comparative Religion Department had overheard the conversation and would repeat everything I had said to my union rep, a gentleman-enforcer some refer to as “Boris the Hammer.” (Personally, I never called him anything but “Friend.” I swear, I speak nothing but the truth. That is my curse.)
Early the next morning, I was stabbed repeatedly by an unknown assailant while toasting a bagel decorated with an impressionist hammer-and-sickle symbol sold only at the campus commissary.
Now here I lay in the hospital, surrounded by hostile eyes, on death’s door. Needless to say, I wasn’t able to cast my vote on Tuesday the 8th, but apparently there weren’t enough “Boris the Hammers” in this country to prevent Donald Trump’s ignoble victory. Please don’t worry, sir… California went solidly for Hillary, as you well know. My non-vote didn’t affect the outcome in any appreciable way.
Please, President Obama, I beg you: Just leave my family alone. They did nothing to you. And please tell the General Secretary, “The chocolates are in the mail.”
I only wish I had lived long enough to see this editorial in print.
Yours in Eternal Solidarity,