The Wide Angle: 270, or how I became interested in politics

Published 6:30 am Saturday, November 7, 2020

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By now, you are more than well aware of my disdain for numbers.

“Alright, let’s read what Eric has to say today,” you say from the dining room table, where the sun shines through the window and your cup of coffee steams away — or so I’ve heard. “Awww, ANOTHER column about his hatred for math? I wish he would talk about geography or social studies just once.”

I thought this disdain would carry me through the election, which is always defined by numbers, percentages and the colors red or blue.

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Twenty-four hournews — the stand-up comedians of journalism — loooovvveee numbers and colors. With their new giant touch screens, they circle things, draw arrows and turn colors different colors as they speculate about which way everything is going.

Newspapers aren’t much different as we also like to look at things and speculate wildly where things are going. Mostly though, it’s done within our own spheres, especially at small newspapers, where it tends to be shouted across a room to ourselves.

I thought I would be immune to this because I don’t like numbers and I’m not a real big fan of covering elections.

I would rather be freezing my behind off at a football game, but here’s the deal. I found myself getting sucked to this year’s train wreck of democracy.

If one train left Washington at 11 a.m. and another train left Los Angeles at 1 p.m., what time would both trains begin accusing each other of voter fraud?

I started watching the numbers and wouldn’t you know it? I started doing math … willingly.

This is unheard of, but there I was. Doing math, writing out routes to 270 and being genuinely concerned and interested in what colors a state was and when would votes be official.

This is a strange feeling for me when I actually stopped to think about it. I almost asked for professional help.

Here I was scribbling out roads to 270. Never has the individual number of 270 been so important in my life than this week.

I thought at one point that this may have changed after I had a restful sleep of four hours, but Wednesday brought more of the same. I turned on the morning news, preceded to drink way too much coffee in too short of time and began looking for the way to 270 — often while shaking, because, coffee.

Remember that movie that Jim Carrey was in? “23?” Oh, right. Nobody remembers that movie. It was a movie that marked the comedian’s first foray into horror/thriller that circled around the number 23 and how Carrey’s character was finding so many references to 23 in a single day and began to be haunted by it.

That’s how I was feeling this week. I was seeing 270 everywhere. I was thinking about 270 all the time.

Here I was in my own horror/thriller situation thinking about the consequences of 270.

Or maybe the consequences of “23.”

So where do we stand today, I mean Thursday? I’m writing this Thursday.

Apparently things are about to come to a head, or so the smart screen pointers are indicating and perhaps we’ll know by this weekend whether we have four more years of Trump or four new years with Biden.

Either way, one thing will remain unchanged. “23” wasn’t a very good movie.