It seems like long ago, but it was only Monday night when more than 80 million Americans and countless multitudes worldwide witnessed NBC News anchor Lester Holt get run over like a traffic cop by a pizza truck.
From the opening minutes of the first presidential debate between nominal Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democrat-for-life Hillary Clinton, moderator Holt was treated like a speed bump instead of a stop sign when he attempted to halt either candidate from talking or interrupting each other.
At the end, I was relieved to see that Holt was still alive and standing (well, sitting) and that there weren't tire tracks and skid marks on top of the moderator's desk.
Philadelphia drivers are famous for "rolling" stops at four-way-stop intersections, but nothing short of a fire truck or a Girl Scout troop in the pedestrian walkway would have stopped Trump.
His refusal to follow debate protocol or the referee's whistle cost Trump unforced gaffe points when he muttered "That's called business" after Clinton criticized him for rooting for the housing collapse.
Hillary steamed full speed ahead through the two-minute comment limit when it suited her, but she seemed more pleased than flustered or annoyed by the Donald's almost genetically based inability to shut up.
Certainly there was entertainment value to the debate, but I found the uninterrupted hour-and-a-half broadcast excruciating. I felt like Ralph Kramden being trapped at the dinner table with his mother-in-law in an old episode of The Honeymooners.
There's a hilarious parody of such a scene on YouTube. It shows Trump with Honeymooners stars Jackie Gleason and Audrey Meadows, using recorded audio from the GOP candidate.
"As far as my temperament, I think I have a great temperament," Trump tells Kramden, who fidgets and rolls his eyes. "I built a phenomenal business with incredible, iconic assets. I've had tremendous success with number-one best sellers all over the place and everything else I've done."
Ralph looks at the alarm clock on the table. It's 7:12 p.m. Trump continues: "But what I am far and away more than a great entertainer is a businessman. And believe me, my temperament is very good, very calm."
Ralph looks at the clock, which shows two minutes to 10:00. He slams the clock down, rises from the table, and, with bulging eyes, shouts at Trump: "You! Are a blabbermouth! Blabber-mouth!".
"Ralph," warns Alice, as her husband continues to glare at Trump, "You! Blabbermouth!" he shouts, pointing at the door. "Out! Out! Blabbermouth!"
If only Holt could have channeled Ralph during the debate. But Holt did ask Trump why he had said Clinton doesn't have "a presidential look."
Trump answered: "She doesn't have the look. She doesn't have the stamina. I said she doesn't have the stamina. I don't believe she does have the stamina. To be president of the country you need tremendous stamina."
Holt interrupted, perhaps trying to stop Trump from sounding like a parody of a male-enhancement commercial. Trump blew past him.
"Wait a minute, Lester, you asked me a question. Did you ask me a question?" And then Trump continued with his answer, which ended with the word stamina.
After the debate I checked the reaction on social media, whose sages had seized on an S-word I hadn't noticed: Sniffles.
Apparently Trump audibly sniffed so often during the debate that Twitter hashtags were created, and former Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean tweeted, "Coke user?"
Welcome to the reality of presidential politics.
I've never been prouder of Philadelphia than when I saw the immediate feedback of a focus group made up of 27 self-described undecided city voters who watched the debate at the National Constitution Center. They were thoughtful, observant, and intelligent. Republican pollster Frank Luntz asked them which candidate had the most impact. Sixteen answered Clinton and five said Trump.
"Look around at the portraits here," Luntz said. "Alexander Hamilton, James Madison. Do these candidates measure up?"
The group answered with laughter and a resounding no.
Clark DeLeon writes regularly for Currents. firstname.lastname@example.org