I am jingling the keychain in my pocket about 8 p.m. Wednesday as I stand in the parking lot of Fairplex. I silently curse myself for not removing the tiny pocketknife that is part of the keychain. No way will me and that knife with the 1 3/4-inch blade get through the security screeners. This little knife has caused me nothing but trouble. Hospital screeners have booted me out of their buildings, courthouse guards have threatened to take it away. I am usually inside an airport terminal when I remember I have it with me and start sweating bullets. On this night, I will have to deal with Pomona police and security screeners. I contemplate holding my knife against sky and hollering: “I am Zero! Zorro’s chubby brother!” and keeping them at bay with a series of parries and thrusts that would make Errol Flynn envious. But I want to get into the Fairplex building where Iraqis are voting on a new parliament. I want to see history on the run so to speak. So I put my little knife inside the hollow part of a parking lot sawhorse, and waddle toward the entrance gate. I am intrigued by this election. There are more than 200 parties or political entities listed on a ballot for 275 seats. I am told there are 7,700 candidates running. People are to pick one party. It’s amazing to me. In my little Covina home I am swamped by all sorts of campaign literature during election time. Hit pieces, hit pieces that hit back at the hit pieces, hit pieces to hit back at those hitting back at hit pieces. I get huge catalogues – which I never read – from the state or county outlining propositions on the ballot. I am trying to multiply that by 200. I want to find out if Iraqis have been barraged by mailers for this election. It didn’t happen, says Hamid Said, 49, a professor at UC Irvine. I meet Said as he is leaving the voting place. My eyes occasionally dart to where I hid my tiny pocketknife, and Said is non-plussed by my lack of eye contact. He’s gotten most of his information by family, e-mails, news, friends and the Iraqi-American community. Said is feeling good tonight. He’s voted. “It’s beautiful,” he said. “It’s thrilling to settle issues like this with pencil and paper instead of bullets and bombs.” I walk into the voting area and watch. There are about 30 people in the room. As each person votes, various poll workers applaud. I can’t help but think it’s a thrilling time for all involved. I approach a woman standing by herself who has just cast a ballot. I ask her if she has voted. She shakes her head yes and is beaming. Her eyes squint slightly as a smile fills her face. As I go, the lady at the front table asks me if I want to keep the press pass issued to me to get into the building. It has foreign scrawl all over it. I let her know I’d love to keep it. Something tells me I’d like to remember this night. In the parking lot I stop at the sawhorse and fish out my tiny pocketknife. I walk back to my car thinking how neat it was to watch this little bit of democracy in action. I am beaming, too. [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2110 AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!