This story was written by Greg Karber, Arkansas Traveler
For the first time this millennium, a new U.S. president was chosen by the people instead of the Supreme Court.
But it didn't have to happen like that. It could have gone any of number of other ways, and, in fact, it probably did.
Allow me to explain.
You see, scientists have noted that our universe seems uniquely suited for life. The physical properties of our reality seem to be fine-tuned for the development of consciousness. People who believe in creationism or intelligent design say this is because God made it this way. Duh.
However, some scientists explain this mystery by positing the existence of an infinite number of parallel universes, each differing from every other one in every possible way that two universes could differ. For example, maybe in one of these parallel universes, gravity acts in reverse.
If this is the true nature of the universe (or "multiverse"), and it is quite possible that it is, then not only were there an infinite number of elections hosted Tuesday in an infinite number of parallel universes with an infinite number of different candidates, there were also an infinite number of universes that pitted that universe's Barack Obama against that universe's John McCain.
And among all of these universes, every possible thing that could have happened during the political election actually did.
For example, in one parallel universe, McCain was elected in a landslide.
In another, he choked on a pretzel and died, giving rise to an uneasy and possibly offensive joke that he was just like Bush after all, referring to George's unfortunate but nonfatal 2002 encounter with the deviously folded pastry.
In one universe, Obama's name kept him from the White House when Republican strategists realized that his initials were B.O. and seized on the opportunity to tenuously connect him to noxious armpit funk.
In another, McCain purchased an eighth house for himself and then immediately tried to upgrade to two red plastic hotels. McCain said anyone attempting to thwart the development of this "monopoly" was "just another socialist scam artist peddling his death wares, like free health care or making sure everyone has enough food not to starve."
In another, Obama won nearly 100 percent of the vote after Bush admitted that, for years, he had not taken the war in Iraq seriously because he had been under the impression that he was actually playing an enormous video game, "kinda like that awesome Matthew Broderick movie, you know, the one with the big tic-tac-toe game. Heh, heh, you know what I'm talkin' about, right? I think it came out in the '80s."
In one, McCain actually won a debate. (Unfortunately, even given infinite chances, Sarah Palin couldn't rack up a win.)
In another, McCain won but was quickly impeached when it was discovered that, on McCain's orders, Joe the Plumber had sabotaged the toilets at the Democratic Campaign Headquarters, tweaking them so that it took several flushes to get anything down. After careful consideration, the mainstream media referred to this scandal as Plumbergate, choosing that name over the many alternatives, including Poopergate and Toilet-Watergate.
In one, yes, Obama was a secret Muslim.
In another, so was McCain.
But of all the possible elections we could have experienced, we got one so good that it actually succeeded in making "Saturday Night Live" relevant for the first time in eight years.
Our election had it all: robocalls and hockey moms, mavericks and rogues, lipsticked animals and the nonexistent Bradley Effect, change we need and change we can believe in, $150 thousand change of clothing, Coln Powell's change of heart, McCain's obsession with cutting pork that, when compared to the whole of our national budget, is just pocket change.
Personally, I wouldn't change a thing.
Especially not the ending.