Mayoral Puffery (An inside story!) – C’mon Kiddies, it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood…

hick-tuba006.JPGThe place: Mayor’s Office (Smoking ban in effect. No smoke-filled room here!)

The players: Mayor; Grizzled Lobbyist/Adviser (GLA); slew of other mayoral advisers identified as (names have been changed to protect the innocent, naive, goofy,effete), 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F, 1G, 1H, 1I.

The Issue: Public relations campaign for tax and bond issues on the November ballot.

GLA: “You got an 80+ approval rating, Mayor. Hell, the electorate–they’re like giddy kids. They’ll follow you anywhere. But, hell, we’ve got a million bucks for the tax/bond campaign, so we gotta do somethin’. I like the idea of maybe the Rockettes high kickin’ with you in the middle of the line. See, we’d get like twenty of ’em…little tutu outfits, breasts floppin’, lots of leg showin’. ‘Happy Days are Here Again,’ playin’ in background. Yeah, yeah, (sits on the edge of his chair, rubs his hands together), I got it. They’d wear these sequined, feathered hats–you know, like the Vegas girls–and every other one of the hats would have the title of one of the ballot questions on it: Property Tax, Public Works, Cuturals, Police…”

1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F, 1G, 1H, 1I: (Collectively aghast!)

Mayor: “Ah, gee-whiz, GLA, my wife wouldn’t like that one. How about me falling out of a plane or, better yet, a bear suit and I could do a little dance and…”

GLA: “Been there. Done that.”

Mayor: (Frowns, puckers his lips) “Darn. Yeah, I guess you’re right. I did like the bear suit, though.”

GLA: “Did you ever give it back to the costume people?”

Mayor: “Ah, well, um… It’s just so much darn fun.”

GLA: “Gotta give it back, Mayor. We’re still payin’ the rental on the damn thing.”

Mayor: (Pouts)

1H: “I got it. We can sit you down with a tuba–bright, shiny tuba. You can puff out your cheeks like you’re playing it and you can open your eyes real wide like you’re about to suffer an an aneurism, and the caption would read something like, ‘Support Culture or I’ll Huff and I’ll Puff and I’ll Blow….'”

GLA: (Stares at 1H) “You gotta be fuckin’ kiddin’. Oompah-pah, oompah-pah. Culture? Hell, that’s some kinda commercial for a beer hall polka party. Yeah, I know… Some folks think that is culture. But, that’s not our constituency. What the hell do you think Bruce Benson would think of that shit?”

1H: (Sulks)

1A: “How about (sticks the tip of her index finger into her mouth-a methodical gesture) we put the mayor in a plumber’s outfit. You know, dirty jeans that have slipped down, exposing his, well…his lower back; a dirty tee-shirt; put a wrench in his hand. He could be kneeling down in front of a clogged kitchen sink…his hands and face all grunged-up. He could look up at the camera and say, ‘Gotta keep the maintenance up or the whole thing will turn to, um…”

GLA: “Shit. Shit idea!”

Mayor: “Ah, nope. Wife wouldn’t like that one either.”

1A: (Mopes)

1B: “Foam rubber. (She dreamily stares at the ceiling, seeing her idea unfold above) Red foam rubber. We’ll make nine letters, A through I, big enough to slip over a person…cabinet members, maybe. We’d cut out a circle for their faces and they could parade up and down the Sixteenth Street Mall. ‘Course they’d have to wear their happy faces; really, really happy faces.”

1C: “Oh, I simply love that idea. Imagine it! Part of the alphabet parading up and down the mall. It would even give the children a chance to practice their A,B,Cs. ‘Look, mommy, there’s an A!’ Oh, I can see it now.”

GLA: (Frowns. Stares at mayor.) “Where’d you find these bozos?”

1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F, 1G, 1H, 1I: (In unison, nine heads turn, aghast stares, at GLA. In unison, nine heads turn, aghast stares, to mayor)

Mayor: “All right. No need for that. These are the creme de la creme of city government. I chose them. How could they be otherwise?”

1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F, 1G, 1H, 1I: (Group hug. Happy faces all around)

1E: “Got it! (Giddily wobbling in her chair) We could put the mayor in a cap and gown. He’d walk up to the stage, take his diploma–probably a Ph.D–and then he’d turn his back to the camera and there, right on the back of his mortarboard, the camera would zoom-in on ‘YES on A through I'”

1I: “Better yet… Picture it (he presses his thumbs and forefingers together to form a box which he looks through) the mayor in a white lab coat, working with a DNA sampling. Then he’d turn from the lab table and hold up a plastic double helix with little colorful balls that would read, ‘YES on A through I.’ Then the camera could zoom-in and the mayor would say, ‘Can’t deny it. It’s science.'”

Mayor: “The wife might like that one.”

GLA: (Rolls his eyes. Looks at his shoes. Scratches his armpit.) “Tits and ass. The Rockettes could not only have the bond issue titles on their tiara things, but they could also have them taped on their, um, you know, in back. At the end of the commercial, they’d turn around and flip up their little skirts and there’s the message again. ‘Yes on A through I.'”

Mayor, 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F, 1G, 1H, 1I: (Astounded. Heavy hush in the room. 1C clears her throat.)

Mayor: “The wife…”

GLA: “I know. I know. She wouldn’t like that one either. Well, hell… Let’s just go with the wimpy foam rubber thing and the oompah-pahs. The electorate are like kids anyway. Feed ’em happy-crappy pabulum and they’ll buy the fuckin’ message every time.”

Mayor, 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F, 1G, 1H, 1I: (Group hug. Smiley faces.)

GLA: (Avoids group hug and smiley faces. Leaves the mayor’s oval office. Shakes his head as he throws open the double oak doors that lead from the outer office to the hallway.) “Fuckin’ bozos. Oompahs and foam rubber. Jesus!” (He walks down the marble staircase wondering if the Rockettes would put on the foam rubber thingies. Besides their faces, maybe he could cut additional holes in front and back, just to spice things up a little; just to bring in the beer and baseball slugs, who, he thinks, probably won’t vote anyway. He heads for the Capital Grille, where he’ll down a couple Maker’s Mark shots; maybe run into a potential client; play with the Rockettes thing a little more, knowing full-well the idea ain’t gonna play with the mayor.) Hell, he thinks, Webb would’ve jumped on the Rockettes thing like a dog on a bone. “Oompahs and foam rubber,” he says, shaking his head, downing his second shot. “What the hell is this world coming to.”

There are about 565,000 stories in the city that aspires to be “great.” This has been one of them.

NOTE: Any similarity to any real person, living or dead, in the above “Inside Story,” is purely coincidental and no part of the said story should be assumed to be true–probable? yes, but not true. : – ]

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