Household candidate

Hi, I'm running for president. And I know what you're thinking: ''The name's not exactly a household word.'' Even an anchor person could figure that out. Not to worry, because this experienced troubleshooter eats problems for breakfast. When the networks carry my official announcement, your cliche-infested broadcaster will recite something like, ''Our next story is about the newest presidential candidate - a man you've probably never heard of even though his name is a household word.''

As you may have guessed, I'm changing my name to a household word - just as soon as I find the right word. Nothing flashy, just something that will ooze familiarity and trust, a brand the voters use every day with confidence. A solid name like Bosco, Spam, or Charmin.

While my zealous staffers were churning out reams of choices, I decided to get into the trenches myself and take a gander around the house. One peek under the sink and I felt as though I was already in the Oval Office, rattling sabers and toppling third-world governments. Directly before me was a greenish plastic bottle all Americans know and love, a dependable product with an unlimited TV advertising budget. It was a name I would be proud to call my own. My broadening smile met the perpetual grin of this paragon of household spotlessness, the bull-necked one himself, Mr. Clean. Simply add a familiar appellation - almost any would do, like Rufus - then season with a middle initial, and you have our next president. Rufus B. Clean would be a statesman who wasn't afraid to roll up his sleeves and attack a no-wax floor. The icing on the cake would be to find a young lady with a nickname like ''Squeaky'' and marry her, a step I was planning to take for the campaign anyway.

Before long, however, second thoughts began to invade my reverie. Perhaps this ''perfect'' title was a bit too pat and obvious. No doubt it was a good name - better than Alan Cranston, for heaven's sake - but I wondered if there wasn't a better one lying about. After all, I had two floors and a basement to explore.

I didn't have far to look, because right next to the powerful all-purpose cleanser was another domestic favorite: the red, white, and blue cylinder of Ajax. Gritty, tough, and reliable Ajax. Tack on a distinguished first name and, presto: Woodrow Ajax, the Foaming Candidate. He would be a man the voters could count on to scour those congressional scalawags but good. Beaming with pioneer pride, I prepared to call off the search and have my devoted minions begin working on my inaugural address. But my obsession with excellence intervened again. Was this them name? Didn't it have some sort of foreign derivation? Some wimpy ancient warrior who did himself in? This would never do. I ambled toward the basement.

Halfway down the stairs, there it was, confronting me like Destiny herself. If I could live up to the strength and steadfastness of this indispensable protector of hearth and home, I would surely be chosen to lead the free world. I reached for the big, bright spray can and depressed the aerosol button, pssssst: Abraham Raid Kills Problems Dead. He would be a leader the taxpayers would send to Washington to terminate all those bureaucratic insects. There'll be no bugs in my administration, although I may have to appoint a few WASPS. My heart soared like a hawk as I contemplated the inevitable envy of my scurrilous, unimaginative opponents. John Glenn will wish he were still orbiting the earth. The only hope now for Gary Hart will be a name transplant. Walter Mondale will go on the fritz.

As of this writing, I have not made my final decision on the brand name that will sweep me into the White House. My staff is still compiling options, while I have turned my energies to major issues like unemployment. Actually, I found this perennial problem easier to solve than my household word situation: The logical answer is to lower the retirement age to 35.

Today I'm tackling the war-and-peace question. Wait a minute; war and peace - wasn't that a famous book? Let's see, Warren Peace; nope, too literal. Warren Pease, that's it! The man whose finger you'll want on The Button. The peace candidate who isn't afraid of limited nuclear war. See you at the polls.

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