I miss Mitt Romney.
Here we are, already five days deep into the 2016 Presidential Race, and the pangs of withdrawal are emerging for the vanquished Republican contender.
Well, maybe not for him, exactly. But definitely for his phone calls.
"This is Mitt Romney ..."
And off he'd go, explaining again why he'd be the better captain for the Good Ship America (Cayman Islands flag flyin') than President Barack Obama. The calls would come three or four times a week, often when no one was home.
I'd enter the house with a handful of Greg Walden campaign fliers (gonna miss those, too), and the answering machine would show a bright red "2" in the "calls received" box. The button would be pressed, and there would be Mitt ... and Heather from Credit Services — both pleading with me to change my interest rate.
What does Mitt do now? John McCain and John Kerry returned to the Senate after their losses in the presidential campaign. Al Gore received an Oscar, a Nobel Prize, and a $75 ticket for speeding along the Oregon Coast. (To be fair, he was trying to get out of Astoria ... so it's hard to blame him.)
Bob Dole made ads for Viagra and George H.W. Bush spends his birthdays jumping out of airplanes — nah, make your own joke there.
That brings us all the way back to 1988 and Michael Dukakis ... like Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts. Perhaps Mitt's career path will take a similar journey ... to something similar to whatever it is Dukakis is doing now.
One FOX News pundit suggested that President Obama name Romney to his cabinet as Treasury secretary — although something of that nature hasn't worked since President Santos appointed Arnold Vinnick as Secretary of State.
Wherever Romney goes, let's hope he picks up his lawn signs.
Americans get the battle for the White House out of the way so that we can celebrate Thanksgiving. Political ads have been replaced by those for the baubels and trinkets and mind-numbing miscellanea of the holiday season.
Take, for instance, the Breast Milk Baby, a doll that makes a charming "num-num-num" sound when in the vicinity of a sensor sewn into a halter top at the nipples of the little girls who are the intended consumers for these $89 playmates.
Not to get all Dave Hester on you, but ... yuuuuuuuuuppppp.
"I just want the kids to be kids," FOX News curmudgeon Bill O'Reilly said after he learned of the Breast Milk Baby. "We don't need this."
O'Reilly, who last week attributed Obama's victory to his constituency thinking of the president as Santa Claus, might just have found something to chew on for his annual War on the War on Christmas.
Now, if the self-proclaimed bloviator wanted to turn his attention to more immediate matters, he could ask why 400 or so people marched across the campus of the University of Mississippi this week, chanting racial slurs after the re-election of President Obama in a clear attempt to find the 1950s.
Or try to make sense of the ice cream scooper from Turlock, Calif., who used her Facebook page to drop the infamous N-word and call for someone to assassinate the president ... then say she wasn't a racist and wonder what the big deal was all about.
"The assassination part is kind of harsh. I'm not saying I'd go do that or anything like that, by any means," she said. "But if it was to happen, I don't think I'd care one bit."
It's at times such as this, when the world seems to be spinning in both directions at once, that it's best to heed the advice of Ferris Bueller.
"Life moves pretty fast," he said. "If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
Well, Ferris said that before he started selling Hondas in TV commercials.
That quote came to mind when thinking about the week just spent by Candace Younghans, an Ashland performance artist who put herself on display in a store window.
Fasting and blindfolded, she sought to make a point about separating yourself from stopping and looking around at the fast-moving life Ferris Bueller warned us about.
"To experience myself and life more deeply like this has been a spiritual experience," she told the Mail Tribune. "I feel so connected to everything, absolutely, and have been going through such healing."
In her display case, there was an oversized laptop computer on which, had she not been blindfolded, she could have read some of the more immediate responses to her experience.
"Of all the narcissistic, navel-gazing, self-important, self-absorbed, exhibitionistic, pseudo-spiritual nuttiness," wrote a mailtribune.com reader who called herself "lilb."
Now wait just a gosh-darn minute, lil. You're certainly entitled to your opinion, but at least Ms. Younghans was just sitting in the window of a single store.
She was as harmless as a bear gallumphing along doing whatever bears do in the woods — and caring not a whit about presidential races or breast-feeding dolls — until confronted by a pair of hunters with the intent of destroying his lifestyle.
Besides, if our Ashland performance artist had really wanted to be an example of narcissistic, navel-gazing, self-important, self-absorbed, exhibitionistic, pseudo-spiritual nuttiness, she would write a column that gets plastered on the front page of the Sunday newspaper. So there!
Speaking of overkill, Kurt Vonnegut once wrote that a reviewer who expresses loathing "is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae."
Vonnegut would have been 90 years old today, had he not had the selfish audacity to die, and you have to wonder what the man who said that "only nutcases want to be president" would have made of the past 12 months ... for this was a man with a keen sense of absurdity.
It's been speculated that Vonnegut's sensibilities came from his World War II experiences, where he was taken prisoner by the Germans during the Battle of the Bulge and later witnessed the bombing of Dresden. That'll do something to your world view.
It is, after all, Veterans Day, and while we give thanks to those who served with discounted meals and parades, maybe it's time to take off our blindfolds, separate ourselves from the noise and find our own moment of clarity.
Perhaps the best way to honor those who served is to do a small part toward living in a country worthy of their sacrifice.
Mail Tribune news editor Robert Galvin can be reached at email@example.com