Dear Wednesday, From Monday

Pre-election Nick Martens addresses a letter to post-election Nick Martens.

Dear Wednesday,

How’s the hangover? Or more to the point, why the hangover? Jubilation? Anxiety? Despair? Oh Jesus, I hope it’s not despair.

No. No, I’m not gonna think like that. Everything’s gonna be fine. Heh, I bet you’re out there in the future, laughin’ it up at anxious ol’ me.


I’ll be honest with you, Wednesday — I’m a little worried. If he lost, then… what? Could we have done more? What more could we have done?

We fixed all our mistakes from before. We needed a candidate who was more than just not the other guy, so we found the most inspiring voice of our generation. We needed to respond firmly to their mudslinging, so we ran a solid, even-tempered, and unshakable campaign. We needed passion, so we voted in record-obliterating numbers (didn’t we?). We may have even needed a little bit of luck, and we were blessed with an opposing vice-presidential caricature and financial Ragnarok.

It was enough, right? You’re reading this with a smile on your face. Right?

Okay, I’m being melodramatic, but my perception tonight is like a glass of blue water dyed red with food coloring. I know that 99% represents victory, but those few drops of uncertainty have tinted the glass with dread. And even as I turn to find comfort in the statistical warmth of Nate Silver’s, he sometimes posts little snips that make my heart sink:

McCain’s chances, in essence, boil down to the polling being significantly wrong, for such reasons as a Bradley Effect or “Shy Tory” Effect, or extreme complacency among Democratic voters. Our model recognizes that the actual margins of error in polling are much larger than the purported ones, and that when polls are wrong, they are often wrong in the same direction.

That’s all I can think about right now. Well, that and Silver’s previous claim to fortune-telling fame: he predicted the surprise success of the Tampa Bay Rays. Who just lost the World Series. To the Phillies.

From Pennsylvania.

But, I think, the real reason I feel so uneasy is an old-fashioned case of if it seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t. (This symptom could also be caused by a conviction that one politician can fix the world.) Can I really believe that all of the hope we’ve poured out of ourselves will have borne its fruit by the time you read this letter? That the aura of inevitability surrounding this election somehow turned out to be well founded?

The thought is overpowering. Even now I feel it bubbling up in me. I’ll suppress it till I know it’s real, but I hope you, Wednesday, are embracing it.

Your Friend,

Nick Martens is a founding editor of The Bygone Bureau. You can email him, if you like.