Candidates, Start Your Engines

A no-nonsense guide to picking our politicians.

Okay, so all the candidates have now filed their papers for the November 2022 election, so if you want to run for office you gotta campaign for almost a full year. Them’s the rules, Clem.  

I think this is why people hate politics—having candidates scream at you and stick out their hands begging for money for a full year is only slightly less annoying than inviting a teeth-grinder to a campout. 

When I am Queen of the World (or the superhero “Screwdriver” with the superpower to fix things) I’m going to make candidates file in July, have the primary election two months later, and get the whole damn circus outta town by November 6. But that’s just me, speaking as someone who values mental health.

So if you’re about to spend the next year of your life sorting through candidates, here’s some things you need to look out for.

Top Ten Signs Your Candidate May Not Be the Best for Texas

  1. He promises to improve relations with the native Hawaiian government-in-exile. 
  2. She runs attack ads targeting the Julia Louis-Dreyfus character on Veep. 
  3. His #1 staff choice is “that Rudy Giuliana guy.”
  4. She keeps complaining that her outstanding record on the Rhode Island statehouse’s subcommittee on poppyseed production has been largely ignored by the national press.
  5. Whenever anyone mentions Washington, he asks “The state, or that DC thingy?”
  6. She replies to every debate question with “Wouldn’t you like to know!” 
  7. He refers to his opponent as Ms. Smarty Dungarees.
  8. She displays a handwritten note from The Avengers as proof that she is The Bling, and her superpower is twinkling all day long.
  9. He says the Pledge of Allegiance as quickly as possible, and then yells “I win!”
  10. He’s running Facebook ads for Genuine Buffalo Bayou Craft Water as a cure for COVID tonsillitis. 

And now to the most important list for January: New Year’s Resolutions. (Actually, I call them Casual Promises That I Am Under No Obligation to Fulfill. Before I agree to 2022 I need to see some terms and conditions, because I’m not getting tipsy and blowing little horns if it’s going to be a gawd-awful year.)

• Keep it to myself during job interviews that I have trouble with authority.

• Get really into essential oils, and then bring up the fact that I am really into essential oils in every conversation I have until the end of time.

• Deal with my debilitating case of nomophonia (the fear of losing my cell phone by dropping it into a toilet).

• Stop using hashtags before every word on job applications and IRS forms.

• Live my best life by only buying pants without buttons or zippers. 

• Turn all my high-heeled shoes into flats. 

• Purchase basic woodworking tools: a saw, a hammer, and a big ol’ tub of Crazy Glue.

• Tattoo “New Year, New Me (JK)” on my arm.

• Never take for granted my shopping trips to HomeGoods, ever again. Linger in the aisles and touch things. 

• Keep kicking ass and taking names, because detailed record-keeping is important.

• Eat more tacos, just because. (Honey, if you need a reason, you ain’t in Texas.)

• Stop drinking orange juice after I’ve brushed my teeth.

• Get waxed without feeling obligated to make awkward small talk.

• Lose weight by hiding it somewhere you’ll never find it.

Welcome to the brave new frontier of 2022. Stay well, my lovelies, because one day we could get COVID under control if enough people get vaccinated.

This article appears in the January 2022 edition of OutSmart magazine.


Susan Bankston

Susan Bankston lives in Richmond, Texas, where she writes about her hairdresser at The World’s Most Dangerous Beauty Salon, Inc., at
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