Certain people look at this face and see a crazy man, a disruptive fool in a boot. They'd be right about the disruptive part. But this man is nobody's fool. A growing number of us are recognizing Vermin Supreme for what he really is: a modern wizard, sly as a fox, sharp as a stand-up and kind as the hippie prankster that he is. (And he's got the scar from donating a kidney to his beloved mom to prove it.) Igniter of smiles who inspires stampedes of selfies, Vermin is a committed performance artist/political provocateur who's been running for president since 1992. He finished 4th—ahead of political bigshots like former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore—in this year's Democratic primary in New Hampshire, which is where I first met Vermin. In a flash of synchronicity, we happened to be staying at the same house during our pit stop in New Hampshire, where I'd found our low-budget lodgings in Nashua on Couchsurfing.com, a site that's been very good to me in the past. (Read this book of mine for more details.) Turns out our host, Ryan, who answered my request on Couchsurfing.com, was also hosting Vermin and various members of his "campaign team." I had no prior knowledge of this fact, even though Vermin also happened to be the subject of chapter 9 in The Can't-idates: Running For President When Nobody Knows Your Name, one of our first Bobtimystic Books releases. Our couchsurfing good fortune—well, minus the sleeping on the floor in a freezing attic part—also gave Vermin a chance to reunite with the book's author, my traveling companion Craig Tomashoff. Small world. Thanks, internet.
Our week in New Hampshire provided an up-close glimpse into Vermin's world, where we got to witness the man and his trusty bullhorn calling out the hypocrites and touting his "blueprint for a new America"—mandatory toothbrushing laws, harnessing zombie power for energy and free ponies for every American. Oh, and he promises to use his government-funded time machine to go back and kill baby Hitler. In this lesser of two evils election, it's no wonder Vermin is gaining supporters. We saw him turn heads wherever he showed up. He rode with us to a book signing in Keene, where he posed with fans who showed up just to see him. Later that night he got hounded on the streets near the University of New Hampshire, where he crashed a dorm viewing party and posed with more fans. A few days later we went to a Bernie Sanders victory rally in Concord with Vermin, where, of course, they loved him. Everywhere he went, Vermin left 'em smiling. He even got to the stuffy old political wonks. And he made a new friend for life.
Later this month he'll be in Cleveland at the Republican national convention. Then we're hoping to meet up with Vermin at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia—where we'll have a Vermin Supreme/Bobtimystic Books joint venture to hawk amid the chaos. (More on this exciting news very soon.) Luckily, the guy with the rubber boot on his head always stands out in crowd.
Still curious about Mr. Supreme? (You should be.) Click here to see more of my photos from our time in New Hampshire. Here is the video of Vermin glitter-bombing fellow candidate Randall Terry at a debate in 2011, the brilliant piece of political theater that turned him into an instant internet meme. (The video's racked up nearly 4 million hits on YouTube.) And here is a little video MSN did about Vermin, back when he was claiming to have paved the way for Donald Trump and his absurd ways back in February. But don't be fooled by the foolishness surrounding Vermin. There's a lot going on under that boot. And the man can write.
All hail future President Supreme! Political Vermin you can trust.