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Personal Story about the Election Results

Trump, OJ, a Ventriloquist, and a Penny

It was 5:30am on Nov. 9, 2016, the morning after the election and I was probably the only person in the world (of the sober ones, anyway) who didn’t know who had won the presidential election.

After driving to Nevada and knocking on more than 300 doors for Hillary Clinton, I couldn’t handle watching the results. So, when the news started to look bad for her, around 8 pm Pacific Time, I took a Xanax and pulled a Scarlet O’Hara, “I won’t think about this today.” I knew there would be plenty of time for that.

Waking up at dawn the next day, I took a deep breath, turned on my iPhone and saw a text from CNN noting, “Hillary won the popular vote.” I breathed a sigh of relief thrilled that justice prevailed! People voted against sexism, racism, and hate. Having my country pick her over him was a personal victory for me as it healed my personal wounds of my mother being excluded from the workplace, and it distanced us a bit from the anti-Semitism and discrimination imposed on my immigrant grandmother. It even felt like a step away from my own history of being sexually assaulted.

As I went to call a friend I canvassed with, I saw the p.s. that while Hillary won the popular vote, Donald Trump was, nonetheless, our next president.

I burst into tears, instantly transported to another time I’d watched something equally unjust, remembering Oct. 3, 1995. It was a sunny day in Seattle, and I was in a hotel room with the TV on, waiting to hear the verdict in the OJ trial. It could not have been clearer that he had murdered his wife and her friend, Ron Goldman. His blood was on her gate. Ron Goldman’s blood was in his car. His size bloody shoe prints had been found on her walkway. They didn’t need a home movie of him to be sure what happened. The phone in my hotel room rang, letting me know that my 2pm private comedy consult had arrived. I was in Seattle doing a week’s engagement at a comedy club, and taking in some extra money by doing consultations.

“Send him up,” I said, turning off the TV.

I opened the door to meet Roy, a chubby, nerdy man in his 40s, with a shabby suitcase in hand, that looked no less ratty than the toupee on his head.

“Hello, nice to meet you,” Roy said, so softly, I could barely hear him. I remember wondering how this soft-spoken guy could command an audience when he barely kept my attention and I was only three feet from him.

Roy sat on the bed, which I later realized was a bit strange. As I pulled up a chair, he opened his suitcase and took out a rather large wooden dummy, dressed in a miniature suit and tie. “Oh no!” I thought, hating ventriloquists and their dolls. But I tried to comfort myself that it would be over in an hour and this guy had paid in advance. Roy busied himself, straightening out the dummy’s tie and then propped it up on his leg.  

“So, you need help writing material for your ventriloquist routine, Roy?” I asked.

Then, with the dummy on Roy’s knee, a booming, assaulting loud voice yelled, “Hey lady, pay no attention to Roy. I’m the one paying you. That idiot Roy is a jerk. He can’t think of anything funny. Got any zingers? Come on, time is money!”

Roy then said softly to the dummy, “Hey, come on, Frankie, be nice. Judy, this is Frankie.”

“Hello,” I said, fretting that I was having a conversation with a fucking doll.

Frankie, the dummy said, “Hellllllooooo, gorgeous! What do you say, we get rid of the old guy with the bad toupee, and you and I make a little whoopee in your hotel room?”

Note to self: Never have a consult in a hotel room.

Changing the subject, I said to Roy… “Did you want me to watch your act and write some material?”

Frankie, maybe now aroused got even louder, “Hey, hot tits, come a little closer, I want you to grab my hand…”

“I’m not grabbing anything,” I said.

Roy persisted. “Oh, come on, Judy, play along … just shake his hand.”

That’s when I started questioning how much did I really need the $200 for this consult. I checked my watch. It had been 15 minutes. What should I do? Try to get through the next 45 minutes, or give him his money back and tell him to get out?

I shook his hand and a large wooden dick popped up on the dummy.

“Wow – you just gave me a woody! Get it?!”

I froze. This was a new low -- being sexually assaulted by a grown man with a doll. I usually had a quick one liner, but I was thrown by Roy’s pretense that it’s not him, it’s the dummy. I had to make a decision.  If I just sat there, would that make me a comedy whore?

Swallowing back bile, I said, “OK, that’s a hack joke. Let’s work on some good ones.” I pulled out my laptop and sat there writing jokes as the rest of the hour progressed at glacial speed.

When he finally left, I realized that I was probably the last person in the country to hear the OJ verdict.

My heart was pounding as I turned on the TV and saw a smiling OJ. Not guilty.

I broke down and cried, afraid about our country. How could it be that in America, grown men could carry around a doll that that sexually assaults women and think it’s funny? What kind of country are we in where a man can murder his wife and her friend and walk away free?

My fear gave way to anger, and I made a decision to stop being nice. I would rage at every man I met.

My first victim was behind the fish counter at Pike Place Market. He charged me for a pound of crab, but I saw it wasn’t a pound, but rather .9 on the scale. I screamed at him, “You are cheating me, you SOB!”

I yelled at the men honking their horns, “Shut the fuck up!”

And when a black man came up to me asking me for spare change, I screamed, “Why should I give it to you? What have you ever given a woman?”

But, instead of turning away from me, this older man in tattered clothes calmly asked, “What’s the matter?” I told him about how the world treated women. How my mother was denied a career just because she was a woman. I told him about being assaulted by my father and there was no one to believe me, and that a man could kill a woman and get away with it.

When I finally ran out of steam, he asked, “Do you have a quarter, a dime and a penny? Don’t worry, I’ll give them back.”

He held the three coins out in his open palm and asked, “What do you notice about these three coins?” I shook my head. I didn’t know.

He said, “The penny is the only coin where the president is looking to the left. The others are looking in a different direction. You see, Lincoln freed the slaves. When I was 12 years old, living in Alabama, I watched my uncle get lynched. I saw them hang him from a tree. I’ve seen many things in my life, but I never thought I would see the day when a black man accused of killing a white woman doesn’t end up in jail. Times are changing.”

As we sat on Pike Place Market. I shared some fish with him and we watched the sunset. I wondered if I’d had his history if I’d have had his reaction? If I had walked in his shoes, would this be a day of celebration?

And now, so many years later, OJ is in jail, the world tilts to the left, and back to the right, and it is a slow journey to justice.

That made me stop deleting my Facebook friends who LIKED Trump. Instead, I sent a message to a Trump supporters and said, “If you tell me what happened in your life that made you vote for Trump, I will listen.”

Anger can take a long time to dissipate so I’m now hoping that Roy and his dummy Frankie will be the only act that agrees to perform at Trump’s Inaugural.


2 comments:

  1. “If you tell me what happened in your life that made you vote for Trump, I will listen.” Wow, Judy, compassionate communication at it's finest. Not even this ex-monk thought of that one...This is what heals a divided country

    ReplyDelete

Judy's Blog

Judy Carter blogs on comedy, storytelling and public speaking techniques, using personal stories and her adventures as a stand-up comic turned motivational public speaker. Her weekly blogs are read by fans of her books, “The Comedy Bible” (Simon and Schuster) and “The Message of You” (St. Martin’s Press), which include comics, speakers, and entrepreneurs. She is also known for teaching the value of humor and storytelling to businesses as a leadership and stress reduction tool.