September 2016

How to keep your friends in an election year

By John Christian Hopkins

Friends add spice to our lives. We all need someone to hang out with or to shoot the bull with.

However, this presidential election is already one of the most divisive in history, and will likely only get worse. So I’ve developed a handy Friendship Guide to follow so you can preserve all the relationships in your life. The Friendship Guide should be strictly adhered to until November 8th.

Most importantly, some words must not be uttered. One such word is “Trump.”

For example, if you say “Trump is a lunatic,” you will only anger all your lunatic friends who do not want to be compared to Trump. You should also avoid all card games that require a trump card.

In fact, “Trump” can be so divisive that even words that remind you of Trump should be avoided. Thus, between now and the election, a trumpet will officially be known as a “horn-thingy.”

Another word that should be equally avoided is “Hillary.” (So between now and November 8, I will call my sister “Grizelda”).

If, perchance, you are discussing Mount Everest and find it necessary to mention Sir Edmund Hillary, please refer to him as “Sir Edmund Mountain- Climber Dude.”

Avoiding the name Hillary may not be enough, as certain words have come to be associated with her. Just to be safe, avoid usage of words such as “corrupt” or “E-mails.”

You might say something completely innocent, like “E-Harmony is the place to find E-Males,” and it could get misconstrued.

Make every effort to also avoid using words that could inadvertently lead to a political discussion – words like “conservative,” “liberal” or “scumbag.”

Or “third party.”

You might tell your friend “This is the third party I’ve gone to this month” and they hear “I’m voting third party because Trump and Hillary are bozos.”

Or a young mother trying to potty-train her child may tell her girlfriend, “This is her third potty this week,” and the friend hears, “I’m voting third party because Trump and Hillary are full of crap.”

Just think about what you’re saying, folks. Some words will automatically trigger images in other people’s minds. If someone says “handsome,” for example, you know you immediately think of me.

“Benghazi” brings to mind one candidate and “small hands” calls the other to mind.

Sometimes you can find yourself in a political drama without even trying. Say you’re talking about the left-field wall in Boston’s Fenway Park.

You can’t say “left” to a conservative. And “wall” will set off a liberal. So what to do? No! Calling it the Green Monster doesn’t work either. After all, “green” will bring a third party to mind and “monster” could describe either candidate, depending on your point of view.

The solution is to call it “Yaz’s Place.”

The person you say it to will immediately start trying to remember how to spell “Yastrzemski” and you will be long gone before they can figure that one out.

If you follow my handy Friendship Guide you should be able to get through this election without losing any friends. And friendship is more important than any stupid old election.

So follow this guide and you won’t get Berned.

John Christian Hopkins, an award-winning novelist and humor columnist, is a member of the Narragansett Indian Tribe. See his writings at http://authorjohnchopkins.blogspot.com.