I’ve made a vow not to subject students to my highly educated and refined political world view, aka my rantings and ravings about the contemporary political situation, but I don’t mind admitting that I’m totally obsessed with U.S. electoral detailia – I’m talking obsession like something out of the DSM obsessed. Put it this way: it’s bugging me as I write these lines – I mean bugging me a lot – I mean really a lot – that I can’t remember if Gene McCarthy took 42.7 or 42.9 against LBJ in the ’68 New Hampshire primary vote heard round the world. I’ve spent sleepless nights wondering about Wendell Wilkie the man, and what kind of mojo Orville Freeman had to get so close to JFK, and what exactly, I mean exactly, Eleanor Roosevelt said to JFK (aside from directing him to make Adlai Stevenson Secretary of State) at their legendary summit after he won the nomination in ’60. Oh and that’s just the surface of the sickness: back in the day when I was able to find CSPAN on my t.v. (they keep changing the channel on me, and I just don’t have the time to chase it down anymore, being such a busy and important professor and all), what I liked wasn’t just the hearings, but the Warhol-like periods that followed, where the mike and camera would still be on long after the proceedings had officially concluded. Many were the happy hours – I’m talking hours – I’ve spent watching members make small talk. Nancy Kassenbaum was always a favorite of mine – anyway, I realize such dorkiness falls under the penumbra of what Nabokov calls “private tragedy, which cannot and indeed should not be anybody’s concern” – I mean, anybody aside from a therapist. All this is to say that I was more than a little interested in the midterms last week. There was a problem, though: the t.v. in my apartment here isn’t hooked up yet, and the internet and the phone calls streaming into my office where I was holed up on Tuesday night were just not cutting it – not fast enough, and far too little color commentary. Naturally, my instinctive shyness made it impossible for me to walk over to Frist where I assume kids were watching, or to ask friends if I could come over and watch with them. Well as you may remember, aside from some major outcomes early on, things didn’t get really interesting until after about ten or so. By crunch time, it was too late to call anyone in my own or adjacent time zones, so there I was, reading the same internet stories forty times, long after everyone else had gone to sleep, or was at least pretending they were, having had as much of me as they could take. Suddenly, at some very late hour my mother, who lives in the middle of the Pacific, and thus six hours earlier, calls, wondering if I had been keeping up with the results. She was playing with my head of course, knowing full well that I could barely breathe so intent was I studying every electronic smoke signal. “Give it up, ma!!”. “Well,” she says, knowing she has me fully on the line by now, “there have been some interesting surprises. But you must know about them. Don’t you have a radio?” (My mother doesn’t “believe” in television). FYI: I don’t have a radio, so there I was, most the night, “tethered to the telephone,” waiting for periodic, pony express-like phone calls from my mother, reporting the results of this or that race, always appending to these reports the observation that she didn’t understand what kind of grown man doesn’t have a radio. What a fun night!