It all started when I was in high school. My senior year, I had to perform thirty hours of community service to get my diploma. I couldn't think of anything to do so I asked my government teacher for ideas.
"You could feed the homeless," he said.
"Oh, right," I said. "To fatten them up ... so we can eat them, right?"
"No," he said. "To make sure they survive."
Now I was really confused.
"Okay, okay, never mind feeding the homeless," my teacher said. "You could read to senior citizens."
"You mean old people?"
"Yes, Don, old people."
"You mean old people can't read?" I asked — I was an annoying kid.
"No, it's not that they can't read. It's ... oh, never mind. Here. Here's what you can do. The 2000 elections are coming up. You could volunteer to help a political campaign. You like politics, right?"
"Oh, sure, I love politics."
And so it happened that I, Don Watkins, became involved in politics.
I approached my teacher the next day. "Mr. Mack," I said, "I'm running for State Senate and I would like to know what it will take to win your vote."
"Don," he said, "when I told you to get involved with a political campaign, I didn't mean you should run for office."
"No, I meant you could help one of the other candidates: make calls, post signs, things like that."
"But I tried that," I said. "I went door to door for the Stephans campaign and people gave me so much money I figured I'd have a real shot at beating him."
"But that's fraud ... you can't use money meant for one candidate to run your own campaign. You could go to jail."
I was confused again. "You mean, you can't spend people's money on things they don't approve of?"
"That's right," my teacher said.
"But aren't all these guys trying to get elected so they can spend people's money on things they don't approve of?" I asked.
"Shut up, Don."
Well, I continued with my campaign for Virginia State Senate despite my teacher's comments. My slogan was simple: "Daniel Stephans steals from children. Plus, he wants to tax sex. Daniel Stephans steals from children, and he wants to tax sex! Vote for Don."
Then came the debates.
"Representative Stephans," I said, "have you stopped stealing from children?"
"Yes, I mean, no, I mean ... that's an unfair question! I won't answer that."
The crowd roared with disapproval. "You mean to say that you won't answer a simple question about stealing from children? Shame on you, Mr. Stephans, shame."
And, wouldn't you know it, that's how I became a Virginia state senator.
But it was not to last. On the day following my inauguration, I was arrested. The next morning, I came before a judge. Then they arrested me again because, well, you know, court clerks don't like cleaning up that kind of mess.
"Mr. Watkins," the judge said, "You stand accused of three counts of fraud, and one count of masturbating in a court room. How do you plead?"
"I plead guilty your honor," I said.
"I hereby sentence you to thirty hours of community service, feeding the homeless."
Don Watkins works for Open Systems Sciences, an Information Technology company, as a marketing writer. He has published articles in the Virginia Commonwealth Times, and was vice president of the Virginia Commonwealth University Objectivist Club. Don also maintains an infrequently updated weblog, where readers can enjoy regular helpings of his insightful and often humorous commentary, on topics ranging from politics to sex.