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Janis Jaquith
janis@radioessays.com
382 words

PRE-ELECTION STRESS DISORDER

Now that we're counting down the days until the election, I am SO not productive. I spend an absurd amount of time online: hours - days chasing from one link to the next, scrutinizing news stories like they were tea leaves, and trying to glean polling information anywhere I can find it.

Zogby? Gallup? Kerry's ahead in one, and Bush is ahead in the other. Who should I believe? And those electoral-vote predictor maps - the ones that change daily (or hourly) as new state polls come out - I can't get enough of those.

Last night, I had an epiphany. Even though my in-basket of laundry overflowed onto the floor and sunset came and went and I don't remember having dinner, my fingers were crabbed around my mouse as I clicked from one political news story to the next.

That's when an insistent little voice in my head said, "What, exactly, are you looking for?"

Hm. My fingers slipped off the mouse and I wondered what the answer to that question could be. What was I hoping to find? One more opinion poll about John Kerry's like-ability? Another guess about the bulge under Bush's jacket? (It was Dick Cheney's hand. But you knew that, didn't you?) Or how about one more analysis of the debates?

Suddenly, I knew what I was searching for with my compulsive Internet wandering: I was looking for a link to the future.

The same impulse that used to lead me to palm-readers and psychics was driving me to ferret out the ultimate link on the Internet.

If I just click around long enough, I'll stumble upon the headline for the morning of November 3rd - I'll come across the final electoral-college tally.

Sound crazy? Well, I'm telling you, in the wee hours of the morning, when I've been staring into the endless ether of the Internet for God-knows-how-long, it doesn't seem so ridiculous.

What is the Internet, but an infinite expanse of information? I bet the future's in there, somewhere. Besides, the laundry will wait, and I'm not even hungry.


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