The radio said that it was possible that the voter turnout in New York would break a record. It looked like an 80 percent turn-out. Somehow I felt that all the polls were wrong. Dukakis would pull it out.
When J arrived at my friend’s place for dinner there were two TV sets placed at the end of the table. As we were eating, CBS announced that Bush was projected as the winner. The polls were still open out West, but Dan Rather declared it over at 9:17 EST. Bush had won by sweeping the Confederacy, despite New York. And, yo, California doesn’t even matter, even though the polls are still open, because Dan says it’s all over. My host was depressed. He yelled at his bulldog. We tried playing some Risk, but no one seemed to have the heart to conquer the world. I kept alternating between determination that Dukakis could still win (Democrats are night people. These are the early results. Wait till the late surge comes in…) and anger that the networks were allowed to make projections that declared a winner before the polls even closed. “It isn’t over until the fat lady sings,” I kept repeating.
As I drove home | kept thinking that we should eliminate the actual voting altogether, replacing it with network polls.
When I got home I looked “quail” up in the dictionary. Quail, v.7. (A.Sax. cwelan, to die = D. quelen, to pine away; O.H.G. quelan, to suffer torment) To have the spirits sink or give way, as before danger or difficulty; to shrink; to lose heart; to cower.
I didn’t have to look up “bush.” I knew that in the parlance of the national pastime it was conduct unbecoming major-league standards of taste.
The next morning, on waking, I rushed out to get the papers to see if something wonderful and Trumanlike had happened during the night. It had. I learned that the New York Knickerbockers had beaten the Chicago Bulls, 126 to 117, in their home opener. It helped put things into perspective.
excerpt from Glenn O’Brien’s Beat, Interview Magazine, December 1988