Come on in. My name’s Chet. I‘m from Raleigh. I’m a delegate. I‘ve saved up all year for this. You’re my first escort. May I take your wrap? Would you care for a mint? Or a Pabst Blue Ribbon? I‘ve been drinking all day because we’re electing a president. Have you ever been to a convention? Really? Wow. This is my first convention. You‘re my first escort. How about that beer?

You look a lot different in real life from the way you look in the ad.

No, not worse; just different. Like a completely different person. I hate it when the ink rubs off. Don’t worry, I washed real good.

Have you always lived in Philadelphia? This is my first time. I guess you probably hear a lot of cheesesteak jokes, in your line of work. Huh-huh-huh-huh. (Huh.)

Me? In real life I‘m in middle management. But this week I’m a delegate. Today I stood not 80 feet from the Texan; not 30 from the other, the one who has come all the way from Wyoming. Two cowboys.

I saw their lips move. I heard their actual voices. They spoke of a better world. A world where things are good and decent. Not like now, the way it is with the bad men ruining things like honor and dignity and stuff. Today I stood less than 80 feet from President W. Bush. Technically, he hasn‘t been elected president yet, but he will be, so I’m calling him President now.

He‘s our next president because he’s a cowboy. Not a real cowboy, but like a movie-business cowboy — like Bruce Willis or Tom Selleck or Miramax, people like that.

Do you like cowpeople? Have you ever met one? Me neither. But I used to want to be a cowboy. I love cows. Cowpeople are smart people, I always say. That‘s why cowboys make the best presidents. They know all about cows.

President W. Bush said a lot today. I downloaded this transcript from CNN. You can also get video there, too, at something like www.cnn.comELECTION2000conventionsrepublicantranscripts.

Sure, I can write it down. That’ll be part of your tip. Huh-huh.

Listen to what the president said today: ”Together, we will renew America‘s purpose.“ Now, I don’t know if you‘re a political person — I’m not a very political person, really — but doesn‘t that sound like the best way to make everything good again? What a cowboy!

Do I know what America’s purpose is? No, not really. But I do know that it‘s a really old purpose. We’ve been having the same purpose for a long time. It definitely needs to be renewed.

You don‘t like Gore, do you? Gore is bad. And mean. He’s a total wuss. And he‘s a robot. He’s like The Stepford Wuss. I bet he‘s never touched a cow in his life, even if he really does come from Tennessee.

Speaking of Tennessee, why don’t you just relax on the bed there while I rummage through the mini-bar for some Jack Daniel‘s (www.hartford.eduCrimOLPart2Prostitutiontest.htm).

How do cowboys become presidents? Find out at Virtual Texan’s page of Texas Cowboy Poetry (www.virtualtexan.compoetry), with links to written and spoken poetry by E.M. Quirk, D. Bowser, David Kelley and others. Recommended: ”Bubba Starts West“ and ”The Panhandle Stud,“ both by Bob E. Lewis (www.virtualtexan.compoetrylewis090798.htm).

Perhaps you‘ve forgotten how much fun we had with the ’80s Honky Chateau Cowboys. To refresh your memory, sit down with a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon and read a copy of the Final Report of the Independent Counsel for IranContra Matters (www.fas.orgirpoffdocswalsh), courtesy of the Federation of American Scientists ( Info on the elder Bush and his notorious Bush Diary are in Chapter 28 (www.fas.orgirpoffdocswalshchap_28.htm).

You may have noticed certain similarities between political conventions and puppet shows. For example, puppets. If you‘re having trouble deciding between the puppet on the left and the puppet on the right, visit Kristin Nelson’s Second Graders Perform Shadow Puppet Shows (www.blakeschool.orgcampusonlineartlower990119shadow) at the Blake School (campuses in Minneapolis and Wayzata), where you can watch or download a superb selection of QuickTime Indonesian-style shadow-puppet movies demonstrating some of the most popular campaigning techniques used by today‘s emerging experts. Choose from Dragonland (featuring the talents of lobbyists Max, Madeline, Brian, Jane and Stephanie), Spike, the Hungry Dog (Elizabeth, Phil, Samuel and Kacey), The Monkey Who Loved Bananas Too Much (Alex, LaTrey, Suzanne and Lauren) and seven other timeless classics.

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