"Excuse me, are you the gentleman who writes those stories on the Internet?" politely asked a sweet old lady.
"Why yes I am," I replied, thinking she might be another one of those blogger groupies who constantly hound me for my autograph.
"I just want you to know that you're a disgusting piece of shit. You, and that Charlie Dent!" she told me, as her eyes morphed red and her head started spinning around her shoulders.
I dodged the pea soup.
That's actually how several mindless lever pullers reacted to me last night. I was sitting inside Majestic Courtroom 1, along with well over a hundred other people, waiting for Northampton County Democratic Committee Reorganization - The Sequel. Let me tell you the story.
Walt Garvin, aka Wally G, has already been elected once as Dem chair. On June 17, he edged out reformer Michael Laws in a narrow, 42-40 victory. But Democrats being Democrats, and worse yet, Democrats led by Joe "Bossman" Long, they managed to screw it up. They really tried, but conducted a secret ballot election in violation of state by-laws that require each ballot to be signed to prevent committeeman fraud.
Well, that set the stage for last night's sequel. Being a duly elected committeeman from Nazareth, where I won an overwhelming mandate with one write-in vote, I arrived early to watch people trickle in on one of the hottest days of the year. It's perhaps one of the few times when I get to see other people dressed worse than me.
Garvin, dressed for success, gladhanded people as they walked in the door. And there was quite the crowd. After ignoring his County Council job for the past six weeks, Lamont McClure found the time for last night's election. He had a happy reunion with his former Council colleague, Charles "don't call me Charlie" Dertinger. Unsuccessful County Council candidate Lorraine Pasquale was there, too, sporting her Capri pants. They revealed what was either a serious leg wound or one of the worst tattoos I've ever seen. Then some Bethlehem dude was prancing around in flip flops and what was either a very wrinkled kilt or some kind of skirt.
But the strangest outfit I saw was the yellow T-shirt being modeled by a John Callahan supporter. Emblazoned in black lettering are the words, "Callahan the Run." I was told the Callahan model was none other than his campaign manager, Justin Schall.
What's up with that? Who the hell wears a frickin' yellow T-shirt? And what message is he trying to send? That Callahan is yellow? Brilliant campaign strategy.
He and some other Callahan staffers sat alone in the jury box, too important to actually talk to the little people.
When the show finally started, ex-Chairman Joe demonstrated his transparency right off the bat. He tried, and failed, to prevent me from filming the event. Then, before doing anything else, he tried to have me thrown off the committee because I do support nearly as many Republicans as Democrats. That brought a round of applause from the LongDems and other mindless lever pullers like Mike Fleck, who was sporting his new summer buzzcut. Then some Pakistani dude from Bethlehem, in a thick accent, called me a spy. I think he wanted to have me stoned or beheaded or something, maybe with a nice video to accompany it.
Fortunately, the meeting was being chaired by State Rep. Joe Brennan, imported from Lehigh County because we can't seem to do anything right. Better yet, Joe was lucky to have the able assistance of State Rep. Bob Freeman, who was acting as Parliamentarian.
Everybody was offering "Points of Order" to give Dertinger and McClure time to find a nice length of rope. But Brennan and Freeman did something very odd in a meeting of LongDems. They let me speak. I'm not entirely sure what the hell I said, but that brought a round of applause, too. I think I said I'd like to bring Ron Angle and Charlie Dent in to speak as character witnesses. I'd say it was still about 70-30 against me, but I might make it out alive.
Freeman put it best when he said, "I think we go down a dangerous path when we cherry pick who we go after for not supporting the party."
In the end, everyone agreed with a Joe Welsh compromise under which my vote would be sequestered and placed in several sealed envelopes for examination by forensic experts at the state party level.
Because everyone had to sign for their ballot, and then sign the ballot itself, voting got downright tedious and the meeting lasted until 10 PM.
After all the ballots were cast, they were publicly counted, one by one. Several people died. When the vote had Garvin and Laws at a 39-39 tie, Brennan wisecracked, "This meeting is now adjourned." But it continued, and the final tally was Walt Garvin over Michael Laws, 46-41.
My vote, had it been counted, would never have affected the outcome. Now I did vote for Laws, but was really tempted to do a write-in for Ron Angle.
The Express Times Sarah Cassi was there, and has a more objective account than this. She kept moving away from me for some reason. But Northampton County Exec John Stoffa came over. I thought he'd have some noble words of encouragement, something to lift me up.
"You know, you'd screw up a church picnic," is all he said.