CAMBRIDGE, MASS. — Who is your vice presidential candidate? I don't mean John Edwards, who's having his moment of orchestrated elevation to John Kerry's running mate.
I don't mean Dick Cheney, whose big moment lately was saying he felt better after an obscenity directed at a senator.
I mean, whom would you choose for your own veep? It's clear - as pundits say when nothing is clear - that everyone needs a good backup.
In a grandpa's case like mine, a grandma is an ideal veep. She takes care of everything else, thus permitting grandpa to have fun with the little ones. The same could be said for a dad and a mom, a brother and sister.
Just when this is beginning to sound sexist, you realize that sex has nothing to do with it, and the roles are often reversed.
In personal life, the running mates may be two friends, colleagues at work, fellow artists or athletes - in short, a team, as political candidates often purport to be while leaving no doubt about who's the boss.
We've come a long way since Alexander Throttlebottom symbolized the faceless vp in "Of Thee I Sing" in the 1930s. Now the vice president is considered important enough to have the president's ear and be given special security accommodations. Such regard has always been true for those of us not in or aspiring to the White House. Maybe none of us is a veep. Maybe we're all copresidents.
• Rod Nordell is a former editor at the Monitor.