Columns, Opinion

FONTANA: How I voted for the president

Kids, I’m going to tell you an incredible story. The story of how I voted for the president.

“But we didn’t do anything wrong!”

I know.

“Is this going to take long?”

Come one kids, it’s going to be a funny story.

“It better be funnier than you’re last story, Dad.”

“Yeah, Dad. And no one cares about those old presidents anymore and ‘free elections.’ The alien overlords take care of us now.”

Yeah, well, back in my day there were presidents damn it, and I’m going to tell you about one of those so-called “free elections” you’re so keen on hearing. So listen up.

One hundred and twenty hours ago, before I was “a voter,” I had this whole other life. I was 21 years old, just wrapping up my undergraduate studies, living with your uncles Giacomo and Ross in the depths of Allston. Life was good. Then, the government went and screwed the whole thing up.

“Hello, my name is David Fontana, and I’m calling to inquire about my absentee ballot. I mailed in a form a few weeks ago and haven’t received my ballot yet.”

“What’s your name again … uh huh … and what’s your address … hmm, I see. Umm, we don’t have a David Fontana registered in our office.”

“What!?” My political life flashed before my eyes. “That’s . . . strange.”

“Are you sure that’s your address?”


“And you’re sure that’s your name?”

“… I’m sure.”

“Do you have an Alice Fontana at that address?”

“Oh! Yes, yes we do!” (Despite the excitement in her voice, I remained monotone.)

“That’s my sister.”

“Oh. I’m sorry.”

I responded in something that words cannot describe, a moving speech filled with sweeping colors of reds and whites, with dashes of blues, a picture even Pocahontas couldn’t paint with the all the winds in the world. I cried stars, and with each breath a bald eagle was born. The spirits of presidents past and presidents future stood beside me like the lost family of Harry Potter before sacrificing himself to He Who Shall Not Be Named (the voting commission office). It was truly magnificent. I brought the young and impressionable office worker to tears. And after she gave me the signal, right about the time I was thinking of asking for her number …

“Dad? The story?”

Will you relax? I’m getting to it. Like I said, it’s a long story.

Anyways, the polite women at the office told me that there was nothing that she could do to help me in my time of need. I was dumbfounded. I registered four years ago, right when I signed up for the draft. How could this be? I was devastated. The world was crashing around me. I could see the future flashing before my eyes — without my vote, some tyrant would surely take over the United States of America and soon after, he would rule the world under his evil thumb. The thumb of a smooth criminal — like Chester Cheetah or those darn Sour Patch Kids.

But a beacon of hope showed through. After repeatedly crying my eyes out and calling the commission office to scream, “Why, cruel world? Why?”

A young man I spoke to told me the office now had a “grace period” (how sweet the sound), where I could come in and still register, only four days before the election!

“Thank you, but … I’m in Boston.” “Oh. Well I’m sure Boston has something like that too.”

They didn’t.

Could I do it? No, that’s crazy right? Chicago to Boston? Flying? That would be so much money (it wasn’t). I can’t waste a whole, precious Saturday (I could). Illinois was going to go blue anyway, right? It’s Obama’s home state (it wasn’t). Years later we would find out that he was actually an alien from the planet formerly known as Iiawah, in disguise, trying to take over the world — but that’s a story for another time.

So, kids, I did what every grown man must do when his option seems impossible — I called my parents. “Umm, Daddy, I, uhh, I need to know how crazy it would be to … fly home and register to vote for the next president of the United States — please don’t be mad.”

“What was that son?”

“Nothing! Never mind! Bye!”

Rats, that was no help. So I went to find counsel else wear. I ended up describing the whole story to your Aunt Belva, and when I was finished, she exclaimed, “You have to buy the tickets!”

My fate was sealed. She was exactly the kind of crazy I was looking for. This was going to be, wait for it, Legend — Dairy. It was time to suit up.

So, one cab ride, two flights, a shuttle bus, copious amounts of snoring and Sufjan Steven on repeat, and there I was, Chicago, my home. And boy was I ready to vote.

I walked into the office, proud, chin held high and waited in line. And waited. And waited. I had to wait, but I did it with a twinkle in my eyes, kids. And when they handed my ballot, I shyly hid behind one of those convenient barriers that hide absolutely nothing, coyly filled in a bubble or two (it was only one), and quickly ran out of there faster than Speedy Gonzales. Not before getting my “I voted today” sticker, of course.

Impossible things are happening every day. I had done it, my civic duty. Or my “civic doody,” as my friends would later call it. It was a privilege, and one I hoped to be reimbursed for once my guy got elected.

So there you have it kids, that’s how I voted for the president of the United States. Nothing will ever be as crazy as when I voted for the president in 2016. But, that’s a story for another time.


David Fontana is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences and a Fall 2012 columnist for The Daily Free Press. He can be reached at [email protected].

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