An "orphan precinct" is one that lacks a regular committee and chair. We have one nearby, and I've been recruited to walk the neighborhood and deliver GOTV flyers to registered Dems. I'm natively shy and I hate knocking on doors, but there are votes to be had and lordy-mercy don't we need every single one. The neighborhood in question is near to the university, high-density, undergraduates mostly -- 98% of the people on my lists are under 25 years old. But the squalor! Here are these beautiful old 1910s and 1920s arts and crafts bungalows, or the remnants of them, and they've been allowed to go to seed, or way past seed -- bricks unpointed, wood unpainted, porches sagging, screen doors ripped and hanging off. And then the beer cans, the cigarette butts, the newspapers that have been decaying in their plastic sleeves for half a year. Garbage strewn everywhere, foul odors. It's disgusting, an affront to the decent citizenry. Who are these children? How can they live in such cisterns of filth?
I was working myself up into quite a fit until I started to think about the conditions in which I lived when I was in college, back there in the just-barely-post-diluvian 1950s. I didn't drink alcohol, even then, or smoke cigarettes, but I lived amongst as much dirt and disorder as any modern undergraduate could manage. When I concentrate my mind, I remember the floor of my room littered with every garment I possessed. Every sock and every shirt grey with dirt, sweat, food droppings. I remember an ancient tattered rug that was not swept or vacuumed a single time in two consecutive semesters. I remember a bathtub that was so foul that it was shunned by the roaches. And am I right (my apartment mate Otis J. Brown might be able to confirm this) that we found two hundred empty Coke bottles strewn around Terry Cannon's room after he had cleaned up and moved out. And also that our back stairs were littered with a thousand dog droppings, around which we maneuvered in and out, not thinking that such pollution was a circumstance that we might think to remedy.
Is it possible that these degenerate kids are no filthier than their venerable grandfathers? Gives one pause. Well, who cares, really, just so long as they get their pathetic drunken butts in gear and vote for Obama.
Incidentally, for anyone who cares: I'm now compulsively neat and cleanly.