“Who am I? Why am I here?” – Vice Presidential candidate James Stockdale, 1992

In case you weren’t paying attention, we just experienced the autumnal “equinox”, an astronomical term taken from the Latin, “equi” meaning paying, and “nox”, meaning attention. No, ha-ha, it just means that now the daylight part of the day is just as long as the dark or night part. The bad news, however, is that it also means the dark part will keep expanding, muscling out the light part until by late December there’ll be only a little over 9 hours of light and the rest dark. It could be worse, though. In some of the more Northerly reaches of Alaska the lights pretty much go out for the Winter. Barrow, Alaska, 330 miles North of the Arctic Circle, is completely dark for 67 days of the year. On the other hand, they get the midnight sun all Summer, 80 some days of it, so you’d need blackout shades to get any shuteye. If all this fluctuation, whether moderate or extreme, gets your circadian rhythms in an uproar, the only way to escape is to move to Quito, the capital of Ecuador, where every day has 12 hours of daylight, so every day is an equinox. This would be true at every point along the equator, hence the name “Ecuador” which is Spanish for “boring.”

But just because we’re headed into the dark, frigid wasteland of Winter, it doesn’t mean we can’t have fun. There are the Major League Baseball playoffs coming up, and at least this year we are unlikely to have to endure the ignominious one-and-done fate we’ve suffered the past few years. This year we probably won’t make the playoffs at all.

The Steelers seem to be rolling, though, having routed the Redskins and slapped the Bungles around pretty handily. If the Bears have softened up the Eagles in their Monday night game, we might have an easier time with them on Sunday. Pitt seems to be off to a pretty good start too, especially since, this year, if you knock off Penn State, everything else is gravy.

So what’s left to brighten our darkening days? The debates, that’s what. The first one is next Monday night, moderated by that guy from NBC with a forehead the size of Montana. The first and most important rule for debate watching is to leave all your partisanship at the door. We realize this is difficult, but it should become progressively (whoops!) easier as the evening wears on because we’re going to liven things up with  drinking games.

Never heard of TV drinking games? We first encountered this phenomenon back in the 80’s as a game known as “Hi Bob,” in which college students would watch reruns of the original Bob Newhart Show, where the title character played a Chicago psychologist. It seemed as if, whenever he entered a room, another character would say “Hi Bob” and when that happened, you were required to take a drink.

For Trump, if you have a jolt every time he describes something as “fantastic” or “incredible” you’ll probably be hammered before the opening remarks are over. He’s a famous repeater, though, so you could drink every time he repeats himself once, and then 2 drinks for the second iteration, 3 for the third and so on. During one of the primary debates he said, about a New York Times story, “That’s wrong. They were wrong. It’s The New York Times, they’re always wrong. They were wrong” which gives you a triple-header right there.

Hillary is significantly less blustery, but that doesn’t mean she’s not overly fond of certain phrases. Thus, you’ll want to do a shot for every “comprehensive immigration reform” with a beer chaser for “path to citizenship”  Bend the elbow for every “working families” as well as for “minimum wage”, “prescription drugs” and “paid family and medical leave.” Any mention of “common sense”, especially in relation to gun control could merit a slug. “Stand up for” and “lead the fight for” will probably get you plastered before the night is over. If you’re the abstemious type, agree to a libation only for “basket of deplorables”. She probably won’t venture into that area again.

Comments – DickVerbo@hotmail.com  Also, Like “The Idler” on Facebook

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