Guess what, gang? On Tuesday night, for the first time in three months, I used my voice!
Oh, I am so ashamed. That was such a cheap gambit to draw you into today's blog.
Yes, I used my voice on Tuesday night, but no, it wasn't the voice that you may have thought I meant: the voice that cancer sucked out of me last fall.
No, I used my electoral voice.
Tuesday's primary nominating election in L.A. had a turnout in low double-digits –not percentage, but actual voters– so the influence of my voice on the outcome of the election was huge. It was far more powerful than that election last November when nearly everyone chimed in, blunting the impact of my lone voice.
But on Tuesday night, I was Paul the Kingmaker. And, boy, I savored every minute.
I strutted into the eeriely silent polling place, signed my name on a page void of any other signatures, accepted a ballot from a precinct worker who was digging into a bag of microwave popcorn with her spare hand, and walked into one of the four empty booths.
Then I let my voice roar!
I picked up the pen and InkaVoted for one of the candidates for mayor. I InkaVoted for a city attorney. I InkaVoted for a city controller. I turned the page and InkaVoted for LAUSD Board and Community College District trustees, and flipped through the InkaVote vote recorder till I arrived at the page where I InkaVoted on the city measures.
Inka! Inka! Inka! Inka! Inka!
But with only 10 pages in this election's InkaVote recorder –most of which said only "Continue to the Next Page"– my bellowing reign of power ended abruptly. Two minutes, tops. I wasn't ready to put down the blotting pen and relinquish my resurrected voice.
So I flipped backward through the book and Inka-Dinka-Dooed it all over again. If anyone calls for a recount in this election, you won't be seeing any election workers raise my ballot to discern this voter's intent.
I signaled a thumb's up to the precinct worker and slid my ballot into the box.
As I drove home, I reflected on another big deal I experienced on Tuesday.
Tuesday marked the 17th day of my 33-session round of radiation therapy treatments at Kaiser.
That means that I have cleared the halfway mark in my treatment. Just like the most grueling miles of a marathon are the ones in the second half, the toughest days in my cancer treatments may be the ones yet to come.
But unlike a marathon, when I walk out of the Radiation Oncology Department at Kaiser on Wednesday, March 25, there won't be any finish-line celebration.
Months may pass before I know whether my treatments succeed or fail. I'll probably be breathing through my trach, eating through my G-tube and communicating by making thumbs-up gestures not only for the rest of the winter, but well into spring, too.
Don't know where my cancer battle will lead, but I do know this: I've drawn a big fat red circle around Tuesday, May 19 on my calendar.
That's the day of the city general election. And my guess is that more citizens will sit out that election as the droves who stayed away from the polls on Tuesday.
I'll get to pick up that InkaVote pen, clear my throat, and let my voice rip through the city again.
Nope, not even cancer can quiet the Inka-Dinka Dude.