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Turn Your Head and Cough #16
by Jason Torchinsky

I awoke this morning and found my foot trapped in a small fabric and rubber trap that was conformed to the approximate shape of my foot. Frozen by panic, I dumbly cowered 'neath the burlap and tinfoil covers of my warm bed and stared at my captured extremity. How could this have happened? How could I have caught my foot in so clever and snug a trap while I slept without being awoken? But all of these questions were secondary when I realized that whatever advanced cannibal set this trap would no doubt be back soon to claim his bounty, in this case your humble narrator.

Armed with the strength and resolve that comes with terror, I began to chew off my foot in order to escape. The task proved harder than my grandmother always claimed it was, and I was forced to make my way to the kitchen to get some utensils. I gnawed and cut and tore, ignoring the excruciating pain of eating my own flesh so soon before lunch, almost irretrievably ruining my appetite. I was about to cut into my achilles tendon when I realized I could go no further. I simply could not bear to gnaw off my own foot, at least at one sitting. I was too full! Sure, they look bony, but, uh, let me tell you, there's a lot of meat on a foot. Disheartened, I gave up my feeble attempt at escape.

Just when I thought all was lost, I looked a bit closer at the trap on my bloody foot and realized that there was a lacing mechanism that, if I worked hard, I could probably untie! Working like a dog, consulting diagrams and charts, running a computer simulation, paid off and four hours later I was prying my mangled foot from its canvas trap. I hurled the trap across the room, proclaiming myself a free man once again! Then I accidentally stepped my lacerated foot into a basin of salt water and citric acid I keep on my floor just in case a certain recurring dream I have proves itself to be true. The next thing I know, my body is a spasm of pain, and then darkness.

I awoke with a start and leaped to my feet, or at least one foot and one nub. During my vacation from this conscious realm, I had been granted a purpose. Some mystical force informed me that it was my duty to become the next student body president for our fine university, the University of North Catalina at Church Knoll, or something like that. I have it written down somewhere. Immediately I made my way to the Student Government offices, threw open the door, and, in a loud, booming voice announced my candidacy for student body president. Conversation stopped; silence. Then, out of the corner of the office, some weasley pasty-faced student court clerk or some meaningless drone like that looked at me and said, "Hey. I know you. You're that guy who writes that goofy column for the DTH [ed. note: The Daily Tar Heel, the student paper], You're Jerome Tershanksi or something like that. You work on the paper. You can't run! Ha ha ha ho hack ho hack hack!" The room erupted in evil laughter. My eyes welled up with tears, and I ran crying from the room and threw myself down on one of those never-used couches on the second floor of the Union and cried, just like angry kids do in those afterschool specials.

What a quandary I was in! No, wait, I'm sorry, it was a couch. But what a dilemma I was faced with! To run or to write? "What is the right thing to do?" I asked myself. "What's it to you?" I responded, and gave myself a shove. Soon I managed to calm down and reason more civilly.

I suppose that by reading this now, my decision is evident. I chose to not to throw my hat in the political arena, but rather to wear it while I pound out these columns. If it wasn't evident to you, don't be upset. I didn't realize it until about the third paragraph.

But I have not forgotten my political dreams! In fact, I shall insure that my theories are not forgotten by utilizing this space as a vehicle to describe the campaign that would have been, the campaign that would have won me the presidency of this lame-o, bureaucratic, feckless, typical, boring collegiate student government:

My Initial Plan: To use the first letter of each of the three names that compose my full name; for example, JDT.

Models for my Political Theory: I have two primary mentors for the candidate I would have been: Benito Mussolini and Gerald Ford. It would have been my goal to synthesize myself into a new hybrid political figure, combining the lunatic megalomania and totalitarian control of Benito Mussolini with the dazed ineptitude of Gerald Ford.

Overall Political Goals: Nothing short of complete transformation. Our present student government is an overly complex behemoth of paperwork, red tape, meaningless restraints, outmoded, restrictive modes of thought; a black hole of ideas and energy, constantly sucking in all that has potential to be progressive and good, leaving a wake of destruction and confusion in its path. Carolina is Atlanta to Student Government's Sherman! If elected, I would have transformed the sluggish, wasteful beast of Student Government into a streamlined, well-oiled machine for getting me trivial niceties, like parking wherever I want or free food at the snack bar.

Allow me now to submit a hypothetical time line of my imagined reign:

February 1992: Torchinsky elected Student Body President. Fanfare. Cigars distributed.
August 1992: Torchinsky's term begins. Cigars recalled. All of student government is disbanded, save one new position, "Lackey," which Torchinsky appoints at random from the student population.
September 1992: Torchinsky reveals that he has been using student activity funds for personal gain, mostly for trivial material goods, such as 200 Game Boys. "I don't like using one twice," justifies Torchinsky.
October 1992: Torchinsky reveals plan to transform Carolina from a top-25 University to a two-year correspondence trade school. Gains approval points.
November 1992: Construction begins on the TorchDome, a new student activity center that features a dome 225 feet high, yet only 5 feet in diameter.
November 1992: Dress code instated. Sombreros, spats the norm. Removal of "no shirt, no shoes, no service" signs from around campus to accommodate new code.
December 1992: Torchinsky begins circulating weekly fliers reminding students that they did, in fact, vote for him.
January 1993: Student unrest is high. Tension is everywhere. A flash of green light is seen above the union, where Torchinsky has barricaded himself on the second floor. Torchinsky is not found in subsequent investigations. Living conditions are reminiscent of Howard Hughes' final years.
March 2167: Commemorative statue is dedicated to Torchinsky in center of the pit. Cigars distributed.

Keep in mind this is just a hypothetical outline; I expect in reality my statue would have come much sooner. Solidarity.

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© copyright 2000 The Van Gogh-Goghs