Subscribe for 17¢ / day

I've already voted absentee, but only because I had to. (You'll have to keep reading to learn why.)

I can't understand why anyone who is able to doesn't vote on Election Day. I've harped on this subject before, but I don't think anyone can say it often enough: You need to vote Tuesday.

Remember high school history class and the phrase "no taxation without representation?" That's basically what sparked the American Revolution. If you don't vote, you'll have no say in who represents you, but you'll still have to pay taxes. Just by sitting on your duff, you will be undoing the work of Patrick Henry, Ethan Allen, Mel Gibson and other great patriots.

Sure it's just a primary, but it's still an election. What's not to like about voting? You walk into your precinct and there are those funny little voting closets and the table full of smiling election workers so eager to be of assistance.

And once you're alone in the voting booth — just you, the ballot and one of those stubby black pencils you don't see anywhere else — you'll feel very special, believe me. You will feel like a citizen who is earning the right to live in this country — in a country that really, when you think about it, asks so little of you.

If that isn't reason enough to vote, remember that Tuesday's ballot also includes not one but two anti-obscenity resolutions. One would make it illegal to disseminate obscene materials and the other would tighten restrictions on sexually oriented businesses. The second one is called by its supporters, with a straight face, the S.O.B. ordinance.

Some people think of elections as the opportunity to vote for the lesser of two evils. This Tuesday, you can vote for or against the S.O.B. Enjoy yourself!

Gave at the office

Speaking of elections, has anyone else noticed the unusually heavy concentration of petition gatherers this year? Maybe it's just because I work downtown and spend a lot of time where these folks tend to hang out, but it seems I can't duck outside lately without being ask to sign a petition to limit state spending, protect property rights, restrict lobbying, raise the minimum wage, allow the recall of judges or prohibit duck hunting from the roofs of condominiums. I may have misunderstood that last one.

All of these are worthy of consideration, and I applaud people for being concerned enough about these issues to stand on street corners and buttonhole pedestrians — even the gatherers who are being paid minimum wage for their efforts — but I've been busy lately, and as a result I've taken to lying, which makes me feel rotten. I give the petition gatherer just enough time to describe the issue and I say, "Already signed. Thanks."

So I just wanted to apologize to each of you. I'm going to continue lying, but I wanted to apologize.

Lights going dark

Except for one time a few years ago, when my editor pinch-hit for me and wrote a City Lights column, I haven't missed a Sunday since City Lights debuted on Jan. 2, 2000.

That adds up to 335 columns. Stacked up against Cal Ripken's 2,632 consecutive Major League Baseball games, it doesn't sound like much. But considered another, perhaps impious, way, I wonder how many ministers in these parts haven't skipped out on a Sunday sermon in more than six years?

Until now, when I've gone on vacation I've left columns written in advance to fill this space. And I've written the column when laid low by operations, injuries and the flu, and while mentally debilitated by personal distractions, other reporting duties, laziness and a barrel-scraping lack of ideas.

Until now. I could deal with everything else, but apparently I can't deal with the idea that my oldest daughter is getting married.

As was the case with my own wedding, I have had almost nothing to do with the preparations. That makes me happily unaware of how much it's costing us, but you can't pin a price on a good time. If we end up in debtor's prison, we'll deal with it. And I like the groom.

So I'm not sure what aspect of the looming nuptials has had such a strong effect on me. All I know is that I've been sleeping poorly, waking early, daydreaming alarmingly often, breaking into sweats and feeling a sort of constant, low-level stress, like a buzzing in my ears. Writing a couple of advance columns in such a state of mind seemed hopeless.

This is a long way of saying that City Lights will be switched off next week and the week after that, resuming on June 25, assuming I recover.

Contact Ed Kemmick at or 657-1293.