I took my friend back to his polling place and, as this was a fairly small town, convinced the election officials to let me look into one of the booths.
Sure enough, there it was: Richard A. Galen.
My friend shrugged and said, "I didn't make the connection."
I lost by two votes: 902-900.
I told this story a few years ago at a GOP dinner in Marietta. When I got to this point the woman who was the director of elections for the county back then, Georgia Guilenger, stood up and said, "That's not true!"
"Oh. My. God," I thought. "I've been telling this story for 30 years and it's not true?"
Here's what I have in common with Al Gore and John Kerry: If we tell a story long enough, we believe it actually happened, even if we made it up in the first place.
"Miz Guilenger?" I asked with some trepidation. "That didn't happen?"
"No," she said squaring her shoulders in the way that women of a certain age who have been challenged are wont to do. "You lost by ONE vote."
The teaching point, however, remains: Do not ask your supporters to make logical leaps on your behalf. If your candidate's name is Charles Everson Provolone, don't make bumper strips and signs which say:
Vote for Chuck E. Cheese!
They won't get it.
The next time I ran, I had married the Mullings Director of Standards & Practices. She ran my campaign. I won.
Another teaching point.
On a the Secret Decoder Ring page today: A link to my most recent column on the Washington Nationals from the Alexandria Times; a puzzling Mullfoto; and a catchy caption of the day.