Call me a courageous explorer in the mold of Lewis and Clark if you want, but I did something insanely brave here: I traveled alone, on foot, all the way across the convention floor.
This is actually a lot harder than what Lewis and Clark did. Yes, they had to cross thousands of miles of hostile wilderness surviving on pine needles and squirrel jerky. But that's nothing compared to the obstacles I faced. Spike Lee, for example.
Here's a minute-by-minute account of my ordeal:
7:40 -- I get a temporary media floor pass, which allows me to be on the floor for exactly 30 minutes. If I don't return the pass by 8:10, something bad happens, although they don't tell you exactly what, so you have to assume waterboarding.
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7:41 -- I step onto the convention floor and am immediately caught up in a surging mass of humanity consisting of every Democrat who has ever lived. Grover Cleveland is in here somewhere. Yes, he died in 1908, but the crowd is so dense that he is unable to fall down.
7:43 -- Somewhere in the distance is the podium, where an important Democratic dignitary is speaking about Change. He is for it. Down here on the floor, we are wishing that our fellow surgers would change to a stronger deodorant. We are pressed together so tightly that some of us could easily wind up pregnant by as many as eight different people, and I am not ruling out Grover.
7:48 -- Through intense effort I manage to surge maybe eight feet, where the path is blocked by a TV network that has set up a platform on the floor so its reporters can report on the convention by talking to each other with their backs to the actual convention. There is huge excitement in the surge as people catch glimpses of both Anderson Cooper AND Wolf Blitzer, who are, in this environment, the Beatles. The surgers all stop, whip out cellphones and take pictures of the backs of the heads of people who are taking pictures of the backs of the heads of people who might actually be getting direct visual shots of Anderson and Wolf. It is a lifetime convention memory.
7:53 -- I keep fighting my way forward. As I squeeze past a group of men in suits, I have strong and direct buttular contact, lasting a good seven seconds, with New York Sen. Chuck Schumer. At least it was good for me.
7:58 -- I finally reach my destination: the Florida delegates. I was concerned that they might get confused and wind up in, say, New Orleans, but there they were, and as a Floridian I am proud to report they were wearing pink flamingo sunglasses that expressed the clear message: ''Hey, we're dorks!''
8:02 -- After trying without success to score a pair of dork sunglasses, I realize I have only eight minutes to return my floor pass. Desperately fighting my way back, I find my path blocked by a mass of people taking pictures of the backs of the heads of people trying to take pictures of Spike Lee. He's trying to take a picture of the podium, but it looks like he's mainly getting the backs of heads.
8:04 -- The convention floor erupts as the big TV screen shows . . . OHMIGOD . . . JOE BIDEN! He's HERE! The transformation of Joe Biden is one of the best story lines at this convention. A week ago, people would sprint from the room when Joe entered for fear he would start a sentence that might not end until Halloween. Now, suddenly, he is a towering stud muffin of charisma. His every move is big news. On Tuesday, the Rocky Mountain News ran a story headlined Would-be veep eats at Boney's. It stated that Joe went to a Denver restaurant called Boney's Barbecue, which had been alerted in advance by the Secret Service (I am not making this up) to have smoked turkey legs ready. However, when Joe got there, he went with the pulled-pork sandwich. He's for Change!
But back to my heroic attempt to cross the convention floor:
8:09 -- With a minute to spare, I return my floor pass. I am bruised and exhausted, and my armpits are twin rain forests of B.O. But at the same time I am exhilarated, because -- call me corny -- this is a historic event, and I felt something important happening out there on that floor.
So Chuck, if you're reading this: call me.
©2008 Dave Barry
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