I told my wife I would not be home for dinner on Tuesday because of the 2016 election.
“You going to do something on the election?” she asked.
“Yep. I’m going to have my staff beating the streets,” I said with a chuckle.
“Your staff?” she asked.
“Yep. Me, myself and I,” I said, with another chuckle.
She rolled her eyes and gave me that look.
“Remember what happened the last time you covered an election?” she said with a mischievous grin. “I’m not going to bail you out.”
That comment wiped my smile away and took me back to a place where I was facing the barrel of a police officer’s pistol.
“You’re funny,” I said, with a bit of ice to my tone. “That was so funny, I forgot to laugh.”
The last time I covered an election, I was a sports guy working for a newspaper in western Colorado. The entire newspaper staff was pulled into the election coverage, which would include stories from a half dozen counties.
I was assigned a small community about 30 miles away.
I walked around the town, talking to voters before and after they cast their ballot.
One guy recognized me as the sports guy who embarrassed the local football team. He said he didn’t appreciate the story I had written on the team. He said the boys worked their tails off, and that’s what the tone of the story should’ve been and not the 72 to nothing score.
I promised I would keep that in mind next time I covered his team.
As I was walking around, I heard stories of a shoot out in a neighboring town the previous week.
The cops captured the guy and took him to jail.
His name was Brian Gallegos. I chuckled. He was one of those weirdos who spells his name with an “I” instead of “Y”.
I made my way to the courthouse where the voting was taking place. The polls were about to close so I figured I could get my results and go.
I sat in the lobby and chatted with an elderly lady. It was a pleasant talk.
She got up to leave, and asked what my name was. When I told her it was Bryan Gallegos, her jaw dropped and you could see fear in her eyes.
She quickly scurried into another office. Seconds later, an officer came in and told me to “Freeze.”
I looked up and saw he had his gun drawn.
You know what I did?
“I don’t know how you got out of jail, but you’re headed back, Buddy,” he said.
I told him who I was and what I was doing. He wanted some identification.
I gave him my driver’s license, my library card, my press card. Heck, if I would’ve still had my Batman’s Fan Club card, I would’ve given it to him as well.
“You’re not him,” the officer said. “You spell your name with a ‘Y’”.
Yep. Thanks, Mom.