Hello? Who is this?
Barack Obama? Hey, like you had to say "Obama." How many Baracks do you think I know?
Me? Oh, nothing much, Just sitting here watching the Yankees game when you called.
Huh? Oh, they're losing again, but what's that you're always talking about _ the audacity of hope? That's what those guys need if they expect to make the playoffs this season.
So, what's new with you?
Oh, yeah, I heard something about that. I knew you were running for something, I just wasn't sure what. She finally conceded, did she? Well, congratulations.
How are Michelle and the girls, good I hope? Oh, that's great. Hey, hang on a minute, will ya, Barack? Derek Jeter's up.
OK, sorry about that. No, he grounded out.
Well, anyway, what can I do for you?
Aw, gee, Barack, I don't know. I'm pretty busy. How much does the job pay?
Really, $208,100, plus $10,000 in taxable expenses? Not bad, not bad at all. Is that 10 grand to pay for flying me to all those funerals every time some foreign big shot kicks the bucket?
No? That's extra? That ain't too shabby. What about health care? No kidding, and dental, too? Wow.
But what would I have to do when I'm not going to funerals?
Oh, c'mon Barack, I'd feel weird doing nothing except hanging around just in case you die.
What was it old Cactus Jack Garner said about being Franklin Roosevelt's vice president _ that it wasn't worth a bucket of warm spit?
Heck, you and I both know he didn't really say "spit." But back then, the press used to help out a public servant if his language got a little blue.
You know, I just thought of something. If I take this vice presidency, I'd have to deal with a lot of media idiots just like me. I don't think I could handle that.
Barack, please don't beg me like that. Get ahold of yourself. My other line is ringing. I'm gonna put you on hold for a little bit, OK?
What's that, Barack? Oh, Bobby Abreu singled, and A-Rod is up. Don't you have cable in your campaign headquarters? You do, but everyone's watching Wolf who? No, what's a Wolf Blitzer? Sounds like something you order in a bar.
Look, hang on, I'll be right back.
Hello? Who is this?
John? John who?
John McCain! John, how the heck are you? Good, and Cindy? Someday, old pal, you'll have to tell me how a geezer like you managed to marry such a stunning lady who just happens to be an heiress.
Me? Oh, nothing much. I'm watching the Yankees. No, they're down two runs, but A-Rod just doubled, and they've got runners on second and third with one out.
So, are you retired yet?
Really? No, I hadn't heard. Boy, that's great, John. You're really the nominee? You're not making this up? This isn't some practical joke?
Why do I say that?
Oh, it's just that you're the second guy who's called me tonight and said he's got his party's nomination to be president of the United States.
Yeah, Barack Obama. How did you guess? Are you sure you guys aren't in cahoots, just trying to goof on me?
Well, OK. Barack's on the other line. I put him on hold when you called. What's that, you want to know what he wants?
Well, John, he wants me to run as his vice president?
No, I haven't exactly told him yes yet, but the pay is pretty good, and the job doesn't seem all that demanding.
Really? You called to ask me to be your vice president?
Well, golly, John. I don't know.
What's he got that you don't? Well, besides plans to get us out of Iraq and deal with the economy and health care, there's the little matter of your being 71 years old,
What do I mean by that? C'mon, John, you know I'm your buddy, but let's face it, you could die, and where would that leave me?
I'd be the president, and everybody would be mad at me all the time. By the way, what does that job pay?
Four hundred grand with another untaxed $50,000 for expenses, huh? Hmmmm. By the way, how have you been feeling lately, John?
Oh, nothing, just curious is all.
Could you hold on a minute, John?
Hello, Barack? Sorry to keep you waiting. No, the Yanks didn't score. This just might not be their year. Hold on for just another minute _ my other phone just rang.
You want me to be your vice president, but I'll have to wait until 2012, or maybe 2016?
Say, you're just not going to believe who I've got on the other lines right now...
Sam Pollak is editor of The Daily Star. He can be reached at email@example.com or at (607) 432-1000, ext. 208.