Can We Count on Your Vote?


Excerpt from Performing & Telling Your Life

Curtain opens; JOHN has a list in front of him and he is holding a telephone. Dials phone.

JOHN: Okay, Mr. Tanzinsky, Tan-zin-sky, Tan-zin-sky. Hi, am I speaking to Mr. Tanzinsky by any chance? Oh, hello, Mrs. Tanzinsky, sorry for the confusion, my connection is a little rough. Anyway, my name is John and I’m calling on behalf of Tim Kaine, who is running for a Senate seat here in Virginia.

Oh, I’m sorry to interrupt your dinner—

No, I’m not selling anything—

Okay, I’ll be sure to go fuck myself, thanks for your time. Click

Dials phone

Hello, am I speaking to Mr. Brown by any chance? Hi, sir, my name is John and I’m calling for Tim Kaine’s campaign for Senate here in Virginia.

Oh, you’re supporting George Allen?

Okay then, thanks for your time. Click

Okay, got one person’s sex wrong and the next is a Republican, off to a good start here.

Dials phone

Hello, is this Ms. Smith I’m speaking to? Hi, well my name is John, and I’m calling on behalf of Tim Kaine, who is running for Senate here in Virginia. Oh, you’ll be supporting him? That’s great news.

So, this election is expected to be very close and we could use all the help we can get—is there any chance you’d like to volunteer to knock on some doors or make some phone calls?

Oh, you’ve volunteered before?

Ah, for Obama’s campaign back in 2008.

Wait, did you just say you got some frogs to croak O-bam-a, like in that Budweiser commercial?

Wow, that must have gotten him a lot of votes.

Well, anyway—

Oh, your husband volunteered to, that’s great. So—

He’ll be voting for Kaine, too? That’s great to hear. Anyway—

Yes, I’m aware that George Allen has a SuperPac, that’s part of the reason we’re making so many of these calls.

Well, anyway Ms. Smith, can we sign you up to knock on some doors or make some phone calls?

Great, next Wednesday night it is. I’ll try to get you a list that calls for President Obama as well okay?

Yes, I know it’s very important he gets elected as well, now, if you don’t mind—

No, I don’t want Medicare to go away either. Okay, so, thanks for your time—

Thank you, I agree that more young people should get involved in politics.

OK, then, thanks for your support, and I’ll see you next Wednesday. Click

God, some people hang up rudely, others can’t seem to get off the phone.

Dials phone

Hi, am I speaking to Mr. McKinley by any chance? Hello, sir, my name is John and I’m calling on behalf of Tim Kaine’s campaign for Senate—

This is the second call you’ve gotten this week?

Well, I’m sorry about that, we’re all working hard here to make sure we get as many votes as possible. Do you mind telling me if we can count on your vote for Tim Kaine?

Okay, that’s great news, I’ll try to make sure you don’t get any more calls from us until Get Out the Vote, sir.

Well, those calls just serve as a reminder for people to head to the polls.

Okay, well I’ll try to keep you off of that list as well. Click

He’s definitely getting called anyway.

Dials phone

Hello, am I speaking to Mr. Roberts by any chance? Hello, sir, my name is John and I’m trying to find out people’s feelings on the upcoming election, and I was wondering if we can count on your vote for Tim Kaine for Senate.

Credentials? Sure. Well, as Governor of Virginia, he lowered the deficit and kept the job market growing. Also, he was chairman of the Democratic National Committee for President Obama’s first two years in office—

What’s that?

Oh, you want to hear my credentials?

Well, sir, I’ve knocked on hundreds of doors and made hundreds of phone calls, and I have to say, you are the first person to ask me that.

Let’s see, well, for one, I know how to work the database that tells me when and for which party you voted for throughout your voting history, not to mention your last several addresses, as well as who else can vote in your household.

You’d like to hear more?

Okay… I have a bachelor’s degree from Fordham University, I was active in College Democrats there, and I’ve worked on two campaigns before this one.

Which campaigns? Well, one was for Virginia State Senate and the other was a coordinated campaign last fall. I was in charge of the type of calls you’re receiving right now.

Still not enough information? Alright, I guess I’ll have to reach further back.

Umm… I’ve read the entire “Harry Potter” series several times over, I’m almost completely caught up on “Mad Men,” and, oh yeah, this is a little bit more relevant, I went to the Democratic National Convention in Denver back in 2008.

Yeah, that was a great experience. You know who one of the best speakers was?

John Kerry.

I know, I know, I was as surprised as you are.

Honestly, sir, I don’t know what else you want to know about me, and I don’t really see how it’s relevant, as I’m not the one running for Senate.

Huh? Well…yes, I suppose I might like to run for office someday.

I guess you’re right, this is good practice for when and if I want to run for something myself. Thanks, I guess…

So, now that you know something about me and the candidate, can we count on your vote come November?

Did you say you’re not Mr. Roberts?

You’re an illegal immigrant?

Right, so you…can’t vote.

Where did you come from, if you don’t mind me asking?

Mexico, wow, you sure made it pretty far from the border.

Well, thanks for your time, and good luck with living here illegally. Click

God, I need a break after that one.