Marion invited all the couch potatoes she knew to her house to watch the debate. She seated the pro-Bush potatoes on one couch, and the pro-Kerry ones on the other.

In the center of the room, on bridge chairs, sat the undecided.

"Who wants guacamole?" Marion asked.

Everyone raised their hands, except those sitting in the bridge chairs.

Marion was prepared for this. "What about tuna dip?"

There was silence from the "Don't Knows."

A Bush groupie said, "I wish George W. had worn an American flag tie."

A Kerry man said, "That would be tacky and just pandering to the voter. Why didn't he do it?"

The Bush man then turned to one of the people still on the fence. "What do you think about ties?"

"I don't know -- I never judge a man by his tie. It's his haircut that counts."

A Kerry rooter said, "John has a liberal barber."

The Bush side chimed in, "Even when it comes to his sideburns, he flip-flops from one side to another."

A Don't Know said, "So does Bush. They're both lying. That is why I can't make up my mind. I don't know which one I want to be president. I wish both of them had worn their military uniforms. That would have made it easier."

A Kerry lady said, "Bush got us into a war, and I don't feel safer now than I did when we captured Saddam Hussein."

"That's because you have never felt safe under a Republican."

Marion said, "Does anyone want a drink?"

An undecided said, "I'll have a vodka martini."

"With or without an olive?"

"Sometimes I like it with an olive and sometimes without -- and sometimes I just like to drink it straight out of the bottle."

The hostess said, "We're going have dinner while you all are watching. I have chicken, ham, smoked salmon, lasagna, corn pudding, salad and biscuits."

"Do you have any roast beef?" someone in the middle of the room asked.

Marion looked flustered. "Why do the undecideds always ask for something I don't have?"

"If we don't ask, we'll never get any."

"Hush, Bush is telling a joke."

A Kerry supporter complained, "He's told that joke at every stop on his campaign."

"It still works."

The Kerry person replied, "If it still works, how come the undecideds aren't laughing?"

"They didn't know it was a joke," the Bush man answered.

You could tell both sides were getting tired. The couch potatoes were scoring their own man, but the Don't Knows sat there chewing on celery sticks.

Marion asked, "Has anyone changed his or her mind based on the debate?"

A Bush potato said, "The president won it hands-down. Four more years."

A Kerry man said, "Based on this debate, we're going to have a new president of the United States who will bring sanity back to the country."

All an undecided said was, "Can anyone give me a ride home?"

(c) 2004, Tribune Media Services