This week I decided to write about Bernie Sanders, the Rasputin from Vermont’s great adventure in Las Vegas. But before I hit the first keys, Bernie had packed up his pills and was on his way to California.

Mayor Pete was already deep in South Carolina, picking out the drapes for the vice president’s office. Things are moving way too fast for me.

But then I remember the playwright Neil Simon (“The Odd Couple”) writing, “The closer we get to the bottom, the faster things go.” Well, I can see the bottom from here, and one state after another is flying by.

I’m told that the smart thing for me to do is to stop trying to be a big city polemicist, and stick to writing humorous pieces about things locally.

It was suggested that I might sit in my car in front of the grand new Lockwood Hotel on Main Street in Waterville, and write about its progress, as in: “BREAKING NEWS: Worker accidentally drops hammer from atop roof of newly constructed Lockwood Hotel.”

Or, “Spacious, clean windows finally installed in amazing new Lockwood Hotel. Views coming later.”

Not realistic. I just have to adjust to the fact that I am not a true local journalist like Amy Calder or Taylor Abbott, who appear to cover all the exciting, breaking news even before it happens.

Too old to apply for a job with the Washington Post or the New York Times, I attempted to write more locally by covering the workers who are holding up traffic on Temple Street.

BREAKING NEWS: Pot holes on Temple Street are currently being filled with hot tar, and the water pipe breaks in front of Applebee’s on KMD have been repaired. You may now visit Applebee’s and Planet Fitness. How am I doin’?

Amy Calder just texted me and wrote, “Cut it out.” So I’m back to Bernie and the next debate.

I forced myself to watch the February Democratic debate at the Paris Theater in Las Vegas on Feb. 19.

Did you watch? What did you see? This is what Donald J. Trump and the Republican Senate saw:

• Two angry housewives, an 18-year-old high school gay honor student Eagle Scout who kept interrupting the two housewives, two balding white-haired old men who looked like they had just missed the early bird 4 p.m. dinner and the last screening of “Sound of Music” in the recreation room. They also saw Joe Biden wandering around looking for the men’s room.

• What did I see? As the class of 2020 flailed frantically about the dais, I saw Miss Endres’ afternoon English class at Cleveland High School in 1948 flash before my eyes. There she was, Miss Ellen Endres, a tall, gorgeous, blonde substitute teacher trying to hold her own as my fellow classmates waved their arms as they screamed for attention.

“Over here, Miss Endres, pick me, Miss Endres. I know the answer, Miss Endres, call on me next.”

As an American voter, I was stunned, embarrassed, humiliated and sick to my stomach. I remembered Charlton Heston in “Planet of the Apes” sitting on a beach, when he saw the Statue of Liberty sticking out of the sand, and he cried, “You poor, dumb SOBs, what did you do?”

I saw the political version of the Hindenburg blimp going down, the burning of the Reichstag, the wicked witch in the “Wizard of Oz” melting into a puddle of grease. Miss Endres would say I was a drama queen. That I am.

I saw Bernie — whom some see as a full-blown socialist anarchist, a modern Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, at the Finland Station on his way to forming the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics — shouting and shaking his fist at Mike Bloomberg for trying to buy the election with cash.

Really? This is Bernie, the well meaning socialist Pied Piper clearly trying to buy the votes of his hordes of children with promises of free college education, health care for themselves, their parents and ex-boyfriends, and yes, a pony.

Colby’s Professor Rodman will caution me that it’s much more than that, and that I’m overreacting too soon. After Super Tuesday, overreacting will be allowed.

I kept waiting for Chuck Todd and Rachel Maddow, and especially Jose Diaz-Balart, whose voice reaches deep into the Latino world, to simply ask this class, each of them, what specific plans they had to de-throne Donald Trump.

No, they just kept waving for attention and continued throwing spitballs at Mayor Bloomberg.

Miss Endres, if you’re still alive, I didn’t wave my hand that day because I was mesmerized by your blue eyes.

But I’m waving it now. Call on me, Miss Endres. I need a column.

Wait. Hold on. Hobby Lobby in Waterville just finished erecting their new sign. I have to get up there quick before Amy.


J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer. 

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