Well, Tuesday sure is an important day, and not just because it's Finnish Swedish Heritage Day.
It's also significant because it marks the end for at least several months of television commercials devoted specifically to ridiculing someone, unless you count the ads where Xfinity, DirecTV and Verizon FiOS all seem at each other's throats.
We are at the penultimate point of an election season that has provoked as much confusion and horror as anything since the three-day postponement of trick-or-treating.
For that reason, many letter-writers' questions have been piling up in the Mythological Morning File Mailbag, and we try to dispense with some of them here, in case it's not too late to help any potential voter -- or more likely, nonvoter.
Dear Morning File: I remember hearing something about Pennsylvania having a new voter ID law, but then something about legal challenges to it, and then something about court rulings, but I've simply lost track of the upshot. What all do I need to bring with me to the polls?
Answer: Just bring what you normally would -- nothing special required, for now -- but if you are still wearing your Ron Paul for President button, you might want to carry some kind of certificate of authorization from your doctor.
Dear Morning File: Should I vote for the ones who want to ruin my mother's Medicare or the ones who will make sure I never again get a decent job in America? It seems from TV like those are pretty much my only choices.
Answer: It would behoove you to educate yourself about the candidates more than that and dig a little deeper. For instance, did you know you also have the opportunity to elect people who intend to bankrupt America? Or make your already painful tax situation worse? C'mon, try to gather more of this sort of helpful information, and then get out there and vote already.
Dear Morning File: Every time I see the news, the presidential candidates are spending time in Ohio instead of Pennsylvania, even though we have two more electoral votes. That seems like discrimination against us. What's the deal?
Answer: For one thing, Ohio is flatter, so it's easier on a candidate's knees. Also, it's a true "battleground" state -- meaning there's reason to actually pay attention on election night to what happens there -- whereas Pennsylvania only kinda, sorta, maybe became a battleground in the past week.
Dear Morning File: I needed a stiff drink at home Tuesday due to my anxieties over how that mega-storm was going to ruin the rest of my life, but the state went and closed my neighborhood liquor store even though there was just some rain outside. I would like to see the governor impeached or recalled over that. Which is easier?
Answer: I'm sorry, but we are only accepting questions today about the pending election. A separate Morning File will follow covering mistakes made by the electorate. But if it makes you feel any better, the state stores will all be open as usual on Election Day.
Dear Morning File: My favorite part of the election is all the screw-ups made by the media on election night in projecting winners in different states and then backtracking and correcting themselves, trying to explain it in a way that doesn't make them out to be the imbeciles that they are. Can you promise some of that this year?
Answer: The more sophisticated the computers get, the more frequent, it seems, that such things happen. Pay special attention to the results from North Carolina; if they show John Edwards winning the state, you can expect some kind of red-faced retraction before long.
Dear Morning File: I'm really excited about this race for Pennsylvania's next auditor general. Why isn't it getting more attention?
Answer: That's a toughie. Next question.
Dear Morning File: I'm an undecided voter, but no one has come to ask me my opinion on anything. Why not, since all these other undecided voters keep getting a lot of scrutiny? It's not like I would know what to tell them anyway -- I don't even know which shade of socks to wear today. I mean, life is hard, you know? So many decisions, and I just don't want the responsibility of passing judgment on anyone. They all seem, um, kinda OK. What's the difference anyway -- Republican or Democrat, white or black, rich or very well-off. Anyway, just tell me who to vote for.
Answer: If you haven't been able to figure that out for yourself by now, please do us all a favor -- just stay home.
Gary Rotstein: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1255. First Published November 5, 2012 5:00 AM