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Posted at 04:56 PM ET, 01/04/2012

Rick Santorum, the morning after


Does anyone know this guy? (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File) (Eric Gay - AP)
What happened last night?

The Iowa caucus was Tuesday. On Wednesday, you wake up with the kind of headache that generally indicates a Greek god is about to emerge from your cranium. And a man in a sweater vest is smiling warmly at you.

“Good morning,” he says. Then he winks.

“What’s eight votes between friends?” he murmurs. “Can I fix you breakfast? I have very strong opinions on what you should do with your eggs.”

You have no appetite. You call in sick to work and lie glumly staring at the wall as this stranger bustles about your kitchen.

What on earth just happened?

You sift through your memories of the past night. You have a dim recollection of shouting enthusiastically. Of voting. Of – a sweater vest.

You sit bolt upright and begin to fumble for your phone.

You have twelve missed calls from Mitt Romney and a string of polite but frustrated-sounding texts. “So if Bob Vander Plaats jumped off a cliff, would you join him?” the first one asks. Six more just say, “Are you kidding me?” in a large font.

In the outgoing messages, there is a series of increasingly emphatic and erratically spelled texts from you to all your friends about something called a santorum. The worse your spelling gets, the more excited you seem to be about whatever this is.

So you Google it. This is the worst idea you’ve had so far.

The man in the sweater vest comes back inside. “Michele Bachmann’s just left the race,” he says. “Thank you.”

You blink nervously at him. “Al Gore?” you ask, after staring at his face for six minutes in which his expression does not change.

“Come on,” he says. “You know who I am. You almost picked me. We’ve had lunch eighteen times.”

“Oh God,” you say.

“Nope,” he says. “Rick Santorum.”

Then it all comes rushing back. Those debates, where he stood on the podium on the far right or left and talked about protecting the family and protecting the unborn. That incident almost a decade ago when he compared homosexual relations to bestiality and sex columnist Dan Savage named a not-safe-for-work substance after him. Those town meetings. That steady 4 percent in the polls. That enthusiastic willingness to show up at the Donald Trump debate.

“You didn’t even win your last election in your home state,” you gasp, sounding a bit like a strangled fish.

“It’s water under the bridge,” the man in the sweater vest replies. “As long as you have confidence in me, that’s what matters.” He sits down next to you and warmly clasps you by the hand. You think he is smiling, but it’s difficult to tell. He looks like a friendly oval. “I’m glad I have your faith. All that time, I knew you really noticed me, even though you pretended not to. You knew I was there. You understood me. Last night was a wonderful promise. And now we’ll be together forever, just the two of us.” He squints. “And Mitt, of course,” he adds.

You pick up the phone, wearily, and dial Mitt.

“Thank God you’re all right,” he says. “I was really worried about you last night.”

“Mitt, I’m so sorry,” you sob. “I don’t know why I keep doing this.”

Mitt sighs. “Is it the Mormon thing?”

“No,” you say, much too quickly. “I don’t have a problem with Mormons! Me? No. What? No. Ha. Haha. Ha ha ha.”

“You know, one of these days, I’m not going to be waiting to pick you up after a thing like this,” Mitt says. “You might go too far.”

You have already stopped paying attention. Someone with a mane of lustrous silvery hair whom you think you might have glimpsed once or twice across a crowded debate, stands on the edge of New Hampshire, speaking fluent Chinese and beckoning.

“I’d totally go for a Mormon,” you murmur.

“That’s great,” Mitt says.

But you are no longer paying attention to him.

“For our first fun couples bonding activity, I thought we could –“ Sweater Vest says.

You brush past him. “Maybe see you in New Hampshire?” you ask. “Don’t call me. I’ll call you.”

By  |  04:56 PM ET, 01/04/2012

Tags:  Santorum, Legends of the Caucus, GOP 2012

 
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