Punch Drunk 

This Week: Election Season in a Bar

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Election year 2012 guarantees to put Virginia on the map. Sure, 1607 was solid, and 1776 was nothing to sneeze at. Hell, I'd even give you 1861's secession mania as a sort of watershed year. But all will pale in comparison to 2012.

Virginia's future, the future of our children, the survival of the entire human race could very well hinge on what happens Nov. 6. So could power shifts, wealth transfers, entire classes of people affected by ensuing reforms, and other ideological and political mumbo jumbo.

It's all down to the O-GOD (Original Gangsta Ol' Dominion).

James Monroe was the original Ol' Dirty, but that's neither here nor there.

We're about to witness a slugfest and sure-to-be tight U.S. Senate seat battle between former governors George Allen and Tim Kaine. Now if they actually got in a slugfest, my gut tells me that Allen's size advantage eventually would give him the victory, although Kaine seems to have that brawler's instinct and probably would fishhook Allen in the testicles as he fell, creating a "Rocky II" effect in which both men would fall to the canvas, and then, well, I digress.

Where was I?

Right.

Freakin' election season has descended upon us like a pack of bloodthirsty wolves on a baby smeared in peanut butter. The unassuming, hard-working or unemployed Virginian, of course, plays the peanut-butter-smeared baby in the dramedy that is party politics.

Through November, much of the nation will turn its lonely, jaundiced eyes to Virginia — a place where many eyes already have been glued for the past few years because of the GOP's innumerable attempts to return the state to a time when electricity, the steam engine, women's suffrage and consensual male-on-male butt sex were unheard of.

"Ahhh, the good ol' days," sighs Ken Cuccinelli, as he reads this paragraph and then gazes out of his office window,
smiling.

Bottom line: A heated election season is the most annoying time to be in a bar. Even more annoying than the penis-straw hell that is bachelorette-party season.

There are so many barstool bards who insist on talking about politics. And seeing as I must still pretend to like drunks in order to pay my bills, I lend an ear.

These self-taught vagabonds attempt to espouse their candidate's platform by spouting off numbers and facts gleaned from a popular blog or their cousin's buddy Frank, who used to be a parking attendant at the statehouse but now earns his living as a "sanitation consultant" at the local RV park.

Meanwhile, I glance around the bar, silently deciding which blunt object I want to pick up and brain this guy with. My fellow bartender — a man who doesn't take shit for long — Dustin Askew prefers the cold steel of a Coors Light tap handle.

With this in mind, I give you…

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Things I'd rather discuss in a bar:

- Recent rashes and their locations upon the body.

- Why you suspect it burns during urination.

- The ongoing genocide in Darfur and what we can do to continue ignoring it.

- Women's sports and what we can do to continue ignoring them.

- Painful and embarrassing memories from the deepest recesses of our souls.

- Moms having sex. Not MILFs. I'm talking about our moms.

- Whether or not the burning sensation and rash are related.

- Whether Justin Bieber will be able to make a Justin Timberlake-like transition to adulthood, or is doomed to remain in tweeny-bopper hell forever.

- Why the government-mandated $200 that you have to pay in child support each month is just too damn much!

- Creative solutions for avoiding debt collectors and friends to whom you owe money.

- What you had for lunch.

- "The set of fun bags on that hose hound" (motion toward one of the waitresses).

- "Seriously brother, this rash has taken out a 30-year lease and is planting seedlings on the frontyard. Follow me to the bathroom and tell me what you think."

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Use this list as a handy guide for changing the subject the next time some drunk in a "Dirty Dick's Crab House" T-shirt tries to juxtapose the evils of Obamacare and his forklift accident-related bad back.

Let's leave the political discussion out of the bars and keep it on the Internet, where the armchair pundits are safe to remain anonymous, be as ignorant as humanly possible and never fear recourse.

But let's not kid ourselves about one thing: In a real fight, Virginia's outgoing U.S. Sen. Jimmy "Born Fightin'" Webb would slap around Kaine and Allen like two Saigon pimps.

That's real talk right there.

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Have a question for Richmond bartender Jack Lauterback? Email bartender@styleweekly.com. Lauterback also serves as co-host of 103.7-FM's "River Mornings with Melissa and Jack," weekdays from 6-9 a.m. On Twitter @jackgoesforth.

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