Tom Germond Sig

Yelling ... sneering ... eyeball rolling ... frowning ... giggling ... staring ... bragging ... lying ... snickering ... bickering.

Am I talking about a hockey game? Nope. A neighborhood poker game? Nope. A committee meeting? Not usually.

Give up?

Without further ado, dear readers, I give you a presidential debate in the United States.

"Overture, curtains, lights. This is it, the night of nights. No more rehearsing and nursing a part. We know every part by heart!"

Sorry, had a cartoon show on the brain.

Though I like to be informed, I'm not sure if I want to watch any more presidential or vice presidential debates if the candidates can't follow the rules and the moderators can't make them follow the rules.

I've been thinking about this topic for a couple of weeks now and have come up with some ideas that should help ensure that the candidates remain civil and hold the attentions of those of us in TV land.

Before you think this whole idea is half-baked, I can assure you, in the words of my movie role model Benjamin Braddock, that I've fully baked this in my mind. To wit:

• If a candidate exceeds the time limits for giving a response, the moderator, under the rules of engagement, must mute the candidate's mic. If the candidate tries to talk over the mic an alarm sounds and the debate ceases until the alarm is silenced.

• If a candidate interrupts another candidate who has the floor, the moderator, under the rules of engagement, must activate the shock collar, which, by signed agreement, the candidates must wear.

I have it on good authority that this procedure will be effective and during many debates, viewers, upon watching the shock collar be activated, will scream in unison: "That will learn you!"

For those debate watchers are concerned that this procedure is inhumane, I would submit that watching a debate can be cruel and unusual punishment for viewers, especially those of us who would rather watch something else on TV — even if it's poker.

• If a candidate lies, he or she is gripped by an electronic hook and has to sit in the penalty box for five minutes. OK, maybe this idea is half-baked. The problem is, the candidates will be sent to the penalty box so often there won't be much time left for actual debating. I'll bake this idea some more. Impartial suggestions are welcome.

If, despite the moderators' best efforts to prevent the debate from becoming a free-for-all, the candidates continue to snip at each other without any hope for meaningful discussion of the issues, then it's time to declare a state of emergency.

Subsequently, the candidates are then armed with Super Soakers and are ordered to fire their weapons at each other.

My apologies to the manufacturers and distributors of Super Soakers. I'm sure they intended these toys to provide much more valuable use for them than a pissing contest between candidates for high offices.

The debate ends when the candidates run out of water. No refills allowed. The only downside of the Super Soaker phase is at the end of the debate, the media might have a difficult time declaring a winner and loser. Sorry, there are no winners in a pissing contest. Just losers.

And whom would that be? Here's a hint: Look up the first seven words of the preamble to the United States Constitution.

As far as watching the debates among candidates for higher office on TV, I'd rather see the Bugs Bunny Show.

"Overture, curtains, lights. This is it, the night of nights. No more rehearsing and nursing a part. We know every part by heart!"

And if you have any ideas to improve the debates, I'm all ears.

Tom Germond is a freelance writer. Email tgermond@tamapbay.rr.com