To the Polls!


Joseph Bender, Mirada Staff

Reserve me a hospital bed and prepare to bear me home on my shield like the Greek warriors of old. I’m working at the polls this November.

If I knew what to expect, I would be in line for some easy cash from a bookie come Nov. 4, but because this year has done its best to humiliate people who make predictions, I’ve limited myself to laying out two possible scenarios: Option A and Option B.

Option A: I’m standing on a table, desperately jabbing a broom at the hands grabbing for my ankles. Crowds sack the building as I fight for my life. My colleagues have fled through a side door and are constructing barricades in the streets, leaving me to defend the ballots.

The people no longer want to vote. They want blood. Mine.

“I’m just a student worker!” I yell. My lips move but the cries of the mob drown out my voice.

Hands seize my table with the strength insanity brings. I lurch and nearly fall. They rock the table again. 

This is the end.

The Star-Spangled Banner echoes in my bleeding ears as I collapse into the cruel hands of the mob. Nobody hears my cry of “God bless America!” but I shout it loud in final tribute to my country. 

Option B: I spend two days daydreaming about riots at the polls while I sanitize voting booths and meekly enforce social distancing. I keep one eye on the door in secret hope that armed militiamen will burst in and break the monotony. When a voter refuses to wear a mask and insists on voting in person, the drama reaches its peak and I take my life into my hands. I long for such adrenaline-soaked pursuits as grinding a granite boulder into dust with a nail file or mowing a lawn by plucking each blade of grass with my fingers.

This is not a year of happy mediums.

I’m curious to see whether I made the right decision by taking the time off school. If my stint at the polls resembles Option A, I’ll only have time to regret not lifting more weights in PE while I fight the first battle of the second civil war. If, on the other hand, America goes for Option B, I’ll wish I had just dialed in to my classes for the day. Not only would I have credit for attendance, I could find out whether two forms of boredom, experienced simultaneously, cancel each other out. 

If I survive, you’ll get to read about it, because I owe my editors an article. If I’m cut to pieces in a riot, let this be my obituary.