In the newspaper biz, an “overnight” is a story written before the event you’re writing about happens. It’s never a fun task. Every sentence tends to include watery phrases like “was expected to.”
So if my subject were a fairly large election — looming as I wrote — it would be an overnight of major proportion. It would have to anticipate all the possible upshots ahead. Such as:
• President-elect Clinton was expected to call for national healing after the most vicious campaign in recent memory. However, she was expected to stop short of Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s plea for free trauma counseling centers to be set up in Whole Food markets across the country.
• Donald Trump was expected to urge his army of rabid supporters to call off their dogs and drop their pitchforks, whispering the exact words Willy Wonka uses when Mike Teevee wants to miniaturize himself for Wonkavision: “Stop. Don’t. Come back.”
• The theory that the Trump/Clinton clash was all a setup was expected to be confirmed via a late WikiLeaks dump. It was likely to include the following email exchange:
HILL: So you pretend to run for president and say all kinds of wacky things, I win and give you Manhattan.
DON: And Palm Beach.
HILL: LOL. Okay.
• Debates among historians over which was the most abusive campaign ever are expected to taper off soon. At last count, Team 2016 (“Hillary Clinton ought to be in jail”) was still trailing far behind Team 1800 (John Adams is a “hideous hermaphroditical character.”)
• The count of “poll watchers” injured in fistfights was expected to rise into triple digits.
• Hundreds of parents were expected to file a class action suit against both major parties citing the negative effect of the campaign on their children. Depositions will include testimony such as this from Mrs. Irma Thunk of Altoona, PA:
“My kids were always so sweet to us and to each other. Now they’re just little debating monsters. The other night I asked Roscoe if he’d done his homework, and the brat pivoted on me! ‘Excellent question, Ma,’ he said. ‘I think you’ll find that my sister, Lying Betsy, hasn’t cleaned her room as agreed to in the 2015 Household Chores Treaty.’”
“Wrong,” said Betsy.
“Terrible treaty, by the way,” added Roscoe.
“Wrong,” said Betsy.
“Also, I blame the media,” summed up Roscoe.
• President-elect Clinton was expected to tell representatives of JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley a hilarious joke during her first post-victory $250,000 dinner speech. “There, Bernie,” she was expected to say. “I broke up the big banks.”
• Trump was expected to be grateful to Chris Christie for maintaining an approval rating even lower than his own. Trump was expected to express that gratitude by offering the soon-to-be ex-governor of New Jersey a job at Trump Towers, Istanbul.
• Chris Christie’s daughter was expected to drop the first syllable of her name. From now on, Bridget will be known as simply t.
• Attempted murder charges against Ben Carson for stabbing a friend in the belt buckle were expected to be dismissed. “Gifted hands,” the judge will say. “If he really wanted to fillet the kid, he would have.”
• Trump TV was expected to announce its program lineup soon. So far the schedule includes: 8 a.m. — “Chachi Loves Donnie” (celebs explain Trump’s excellence). 3 p.m. — “The Best Words” (Game show hosted by Omarosa. Guests talk, Trump talks over). 8 p.m. — “Great Again” (Donald Trump fixes the universe and household problems).
• TNN (The Nasty Network) was expected to begin broadcasting pro-Clinton programs opposite Trump TV. Pay-to-play format.
• The Bushes were expected to start shaking the family tree for a 2020 presidential candidate. At the moment Jonathan, Neil, Lauren, Marvin, and George Prescott Bush are seen as the most promising choices. “What about me?” Billy will ask, drawing an enthusiastic response from crickets.