do ghosts have term limits?


So… there was a VERY brief moment in my life when I went from living with Joshua Sheehan and Matthew Sheehan in Koreatown to living in a wacky cul-de-sac in Highland Park. I first moved there with a strange and wonderful artist friend who has long since evaporated in a haze of alcohol (she painted the floor, with marbles, in front of the fridge… “there’s so many women in it…”), but then I lived alone for a month or three. And then my buddy Kris Rose moved in from Tulsa. And then this girl Anna was over a lot, and I eventually moved to a bigger place down the road with her… I had to move off to seek my fate.

But that was the PHYSICAL me. In the PHYSICAL realm, I’m long gone.

But Daniel M. Collins, as far as the registrars of Los Angeles County know, has never left.

Daniel M. Collins has been living at 5374 S. Raphael St. since at least 2002. From his perch above the kids walking to Ben Franklin High School every morning (a typical place for the polling booth in most elections), Daniel M. Collins has been contributing to the health of our fair democracy in a methodical fashion in every election possible. He walked from there down the block to vote for Obama twice. He tried not to let Prop 8 pass from there. And he’s scratched his head and hoped for the best over countless Props and contested judgeships, only missing elections during those hazy times when they moved the polling place, and he didn’t know where it was–oddly he somehow wasn’t home the day they mailed him his sample ballot.

But something must have happened to that guy, because I went to Ben Franklin High School today, and they had no record of him being registered to vote. I actually went to THREE polling places, including finally Aldama Elementary, which the map there showed me definitely was the voting headquarters for the precinct which included Daniel M. Collins’ place of residence, the little cul-de-sac of Raphael St. that leads to nothing but a broken cement staircase and earwigs, and which somehow grew much quieter and freer of band practices and drunken yelling around the early 2000s.

But Daniel M. Collins the registered voter is no more. Did he pass away? Was he stricken from the records? Did some well-meaning do-gooder decide that he must be a ghost, flitting about in an alternate present where he still caught the Gold Line to work in Pasadena every morning, while meanwhile a totally different loser with different problems was living in the same house and casting votes using the same address, and the whole thing didn’t make sense?

I pondered these things deeply as I walked into the voting booth, my provisional ballot in my hand. In my horror over what might have become of Daniel M. Collins, I think I even voted for a Green Candidate for Lieutenant Governor! I mean, what’s the difference, right? It’s a provisional ballot, and it’s never going to count for shit.

Some might say I’ve been disenfranchised, and that it’s illegal. And weird. And confusing. But I can’t be angry–I’m just sad. The ghost of Daniel M. Collins has finally died.

-D. M. Collins

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