Tammy Wynette said that almost forty years ago. Whenever I hear those aching, poignant words, I can relate to what Barack Obama is feeling tonight in New Hampshire as his nonexistent, then unlikely, then insurmountable, then withering lead against Hillary Rodham Clinton disappears like so much New Hampshire snow at the coming of spring.
Why? Because it reminds me of my days in the rough-and-tumble world of inter-gender politics more than two decades ago at the University of Oregon when I was the wunderkind who stepped up and challenged, for Young Hall President, the harpy juggernaut of the hands-down favorite and my one-time girlfriend, Kacie Lynn Mayo.
(Okay, maybe were never fully committed. We had sex in the stairwell after Pretty In Pink on dorm movie night downstairs in the Commons. Then we were all simpatico and making plans–for like a day and eight minutes before she decided to hook up with some back-acned loser from the loser football team.)
She was the anointed one. She had the momentum, the adulation, the money to ply votes from her starving dorm mates with brownies and donuts and pizza nights down on second floor. She’d been around dorm politics a long time, though (she was freshman dorm President the year before I got there).
I was the comer. The fresh blood. When I arrived on the scene, everyone was tired of her histrionics and her hairspray and her earnest off-key singing to “Sister Christian” every fucking night through the dorm walls. They were ready for a change. I was ready to shake things up, to bring a fresh voice to the dorm.
Moreover, as a night owl with an 18-year-old’s constitution who didn’t need more than two hours of sleep a night, I was in a far better position than she was to have a finger on the pulse and a watchful eye on the halls of Young. They were ready for a new Bill of Right-Ons.
That’s why I took the high road. I could have gone negative–-like talking about how she was flatulent when she got nervous, or how that little canyon behind her ears smelled like Gruyere in spite of the suffocating shroud of Aqua Net that devoured her hair daily. But I didn’t.
I could have told them about her future and where she was going. Even then, I could see the writing in the wall that she’d go through her pretentious “I think I’m a lesbian” period before marrying a douche bag from Bear-Stearns who would get fired for giving insider stock tips to an old frat brother; that she’d be off fucking a fat tennis pro from her health club while her teenage son was at home trolling for eight-year-old girls on AOL and posting pictures of his genitals on his web site. (Seriously, if you’re ever in Georgia, take a visit to the DeKalb County Department of Public Records; it’s in her 2001 divorce papers. They almost took both of her kids away from her.)
Even though I made a splash, she used all her bullshit feminine wiles and her Dad’s money to steal a victory. Six or seven of the Jewish kids from the Physics Club handed in their Man Cards, siding against me and voting for her. That’s why tonight I feel a little simpatico with my brother from another mother, Barack Obama. Courage, B. Courage. You’ll live to fight another day.