I have terrible news to report to Chumbolone Nation (aka American taxpayers) in the matter of the presidential Chia Heads.
If you recall, we executed an experiment to determine the winner of the presidential election. We don't use polls because one side or the other complains about the accuracy, sample size, yada yada. And we don't use phone surveys because some people have Obamaphones and others don't. So we decided on fair and impartial methodology:
A President Barack Obama head, from which Democrats and journalists across America can grow their Hopium and smoke it to soothe their liberal nerves. And a Willard "Mitt" Romney Chia Head, from which sprouts the narcotic known as Gropium. A few puffs and Republicans can almost imagine Romney as a conservative.
We put the heads in an undisclosed, secure location in Tribune Tower near the offices of the famed Col. Robert McCormick, where we were confident they'd get plenty of sun and warmth.
"You're making me feel really bad," said my able assistant Shooter. "I'm taking this very hard, you know."
And the reason she's taking all this really bad?
Shooter killed them both. Guilty! Guilty! Impossible, yes, but true. I'd forgotten the one rule of presidential Chia contests: Never put precious presidential Chias in the care of a serial plant killer. And so the inevitable happened.
Then Shooter compounded the indignity by taking a plastic knife and scraping off what remained from their skulls, in order to regrow their once-flowing green 'fros.
"They're not dead dead," Shooter insisted after I returned to work from my adventure with the stupid thumb and the emergency room. "Romney was doing so well. Except that he had a receding hairline, but it was growing out full near his ears. And Obama, he was bald, except there were tufts behind his ears.
"Then, what little bit both of them had kind of wilted. They just wilted a bit. They looked like they had receding hairlines."
And the one thing the American public cannot stand is a presidential candidate with bad hair. Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter had good hair. Both Bushes had hair. Ronald Reagan had extremely dark hair well into his 80s. But then you consider Gerald Ford. He was balding. And Richard Nixon's scalp would sweat. So there you are.
But no historical review will obscure the facts that the Chias are dead and Shooter killed them. The thing is, there are people with green thumbs. There is a columnist with an infected thumb. And then there are the others, the plant killers. In my zeal to grow enough Hopium for the newsroom in case of an Obama election disaster, and enough Gropium so I wouldn't notice Karl Rove crouching behind the Romney campaign, I'd ignored a fact I once learned about Shooter.
"I'm a serial plant killer," she confessed. "I was open and honest about my record with plants before this experiment began. And I told you that the last present my husband gave me was a cactus because he didn't want me to kill another plant. So you knew all that."
But I … I …
"So the guilt and the blame, it all falls on you," Shooter said. "You knew what you were doing."
I made a bad executive decision?
"Well, if someone tells you they kill things, would you give them the things they tell you they kill?"
Clearly, Shooter is well on her way to becoming an undersecretary of agriculture, or assuming some other Washington job where the real talent lies in discovering that the blame always lies elsewhere.
"It's not my fault if they're both poor candidates, that they're running poor campaigns. Look at the evidence," she said. "The wars, Libya, crises in the Middle East, the economy is bad, Big Bird might be out of a job. These things aren't my fault."
They're George Bush's fault, right?
"I'm just a gardener," she said.
I'm just a gardener.
A gardener who was given a cactus by her plant-loving husband.
"The cactus is still alive," Shooter said.
The Chias were still alive at one point, too, before Shooter worked her magic. Chia Romney really took off after the presidential debate, expanding in green, glorious waves. Then the job numbers came in, and the heads of both Romney and Obama became discolored and droopy. It's entirely possible that Shooter underwatered them and then overwatered them.
Obama was worse off. He seemed to sweat from his upper lip.
"It was more like crying," Shooter corrected. "It looked to me like Romney was sweating."
In any case, Chia Obama had trouble retaining moisture.
"His head just couldn't hold water," another witness said.
So Shooter persuaded me to approve a Chia redux. She scraped the heads, as I told you, holding them firmly while scouring their scalps with a clean plastic knife from the Corner Bakery, and then replanted them with more Chia seeds.
"I think it'll work this time, as long as we water them," she said, adding that when you don't water the Chias, "they get sad. They wilt. And you have no Hopium or Gropium crops."
So even though we're cutting it close to the election, we're redoing the Chia contest. One thing about Americans, we can learn from our mistakes and move forward.
I know that Republicans will accuse me of being part of a liberal media plot, since Romney was doing somewhat better than Obama before we decided to start over. But they should look at it this way: This is our Etch A Sketch moment.