Go ahead. Buy your pig in a poke.

Just how gullible do you think I am?

Such a question should be asked of each American citizen before he or she enters a voting booth. Unfortunately, if that was a hard and fast rule our low voter turnout would be even more dismal. But maybe not because our fellow United Staters keep seeming to buy a pig in a poke — or a cat in the bag if you prefer — when it comes to picking their elected officials.

By and large, Americans can be pretty dupable. One only has to listen to the local news to hear of what new scam is being played upon otherwise unsuspecting, and most often elderly, citizens.

But others who know better but are hindered due to some chemical form of stupidity or the other and find themselves on the end of a trick that winds up putting money in others’ pockets. Probably the most memorable scam I can remember hearing people speak of is the great Angelina River jump that never was.

Now I wasn’t living in Nacogdoches, Texas, at the time this happened but according to local hippie/college-hangers-on lore, during the late 1970s a guy — I wish I could say his name but I am afraid if the guy actually exists he might see this one day and sue me — spread the word around town that he was going to jump the nearby Angelina River in his car.

The kind of car — be it a GTO or Nova or Gremlin or Pinto — escapes me as do other details. But this guy allegedly went around town telling folks about his proposed feat all of which was to take place during the era of the great daredevil exploits of Evil Knievel.

Apparently, this fellow collected money under the guise of building a ramp or perhaps it was for admission or whatever. Nonetheless, he supposedly collected some money and told the populace where to be and at what time for his great river jump.

As the story goes, the East Texas daredevil showed up at the appointed time and place, his breathless — well, probably more like beer breath — fans awaiting with eager anticipation. The backwoods Knievel told his audience: “Okay, let me just back up a little more so I can get a better start.”

So back the GTO or Nova or Pinto the driver did. And did some more. And some more. And more. More. And … You guessed it, the driver fled the scene leaving nothing but a dusty trail and a bunch of folks scratching their heads, saying: “Huh?” Reportedly, our daredevil scammer used the money he collected to buy a bunch of kegs for a party that night. The details start to get foggy as to whether any of those the daredevil took for a few bucks showed up at the guy’s party that night for repeated cups of Old Milwaukee and perhaps too open up a can of Whup Ass.

Thus one sees that if people can get excited enough to throw away good money on a good trick then they probably won’t worry much if they get fooled by what the candidate for president, county commissioner or dog catcher promises and will ultimately not deliver. So just a word of warning this election year. If a candidate comes to town to make a speech and then starts slowly backing up and up and up some more … I think I might consider voting for his or her opponent.

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