Okay, you are 72 years old and your possible/presumed opponent in the campaign for the Presidency is 46 years old--the greatest age difference in presidential history. At your victory rally for the Potomac Primaries, do you:
a. Surround yourself with cheering, buoyant crowds
b. Speak with passion and enthusiasm
c. Choose a gnome and two towering, cadaverous old men to accompany you on the podium during your speech
After both Obama and McCain carried their primaries tonight, the difference in their rallies was palpable. Obama's crowd, while it no doubt contained a few of the old and stooped, radiated hope and energy. The enthusiasm was crackling. Placards were waved. People jumped about.
Then there was McCain. Speaking rather somberly, he was flanked by two old dudes in excreable ties, both of whom looked miserable and constipated. In the background, a woman who was no more than a rag, a bone, and a hank of hair kept squinting at the camera and clapping feverishly. Over McCain's right shoulder peeped what appeared to be a gender-neutral gnome with frosted, greyish hair. Repeatedly, the gnome bobbed and weaved so as not to have its line of vision blocked by McCain's body, but it was hopeless. The gnome was to be denied, and all that could be seen of it was the glimmer of its small eyes. Unfortunately, there was little for the gnome to see anyway—the one shot of the crowd made it look like coffee hour at the retirement home.
The two elderly male attendants to McCain's immediate left and right not only made the poor man look terribly short, but had the air of ominous spectres about to accompany him off to the Dying Place against his will. "Yes," their somber faces attested, "We will listen to your speech, but it will not find favor with us, old man." I expected the lights to darken and someone to rattle sheets of metal offstage to mimic thunder. Then, perhaps, the woman would have rent her garments, and the gnome would have started capering and gibbering weird predictions about the upcoming presidential race.
Maybe it is just me, but if I were old and my opponent had really white teeth and big ears, and was known to be a favorite among the young, I would strongly avoid the presence of extras from The Seventh Seal (yes, they were alive then) at my rallies. Maybe I would stack the podium with a few college kids, a woman who did not look like a wizened rat, and some fellows under 70 who were shorter than me. Just a thought!