#12-10 – Babel’s mayor tries his hand at writing.

The wise men of Babel were nonplus. “Who,” they asked, “is the person, whom we should blame for this?” Their perplexity and concern had to do with an advertisement in Canada’s national newspaper for a key official of Babel. They had not authorized it.

The wise men turned as one to stare toward the chair of the mayor. The incumbent sat and quivered, as though he might be the one. He did not deny the possibility that he had done the deed. “But,” he said, “you must admit, there really is a need. The board that looks after this has to adhere to the provincial creed. With only four members left on the board, somebody has to lead.”

Checking very carefully, the wise men interrogated the other members of the board. “Not I,” said the chair. “And, just to get me out of any personal involvement, I quit,” he added, which also added to the confusion of all concerned.

“Not I,” said another member of the board. “I know nothing. I did nothing. Nobody tells me anything and I’m going to be in a snit about it!”

The other member of the board, knew when to duck. “I know nothing and do not quote me,” he said through his mail slot to those seeking facts and bits of information.

The wise men of Babel conferred and the verdict was quickly determined: “The mayor must have done the deed,” was the wise men’s consensus.

In exchange for anonymity, one of the wise men acted as spokesmen to the media. Preening with satisfaction, the wise man said, “We knew it was him all the time. All you have to do is read the advertisement and the suspicion is confirmed. The obvious lack of familiarity with the Queen’s English is what gives him away. Punctuation does not seem to be his strong suit and he might have been absent the day the teacher tried to explain some basic rules of grammar.

Equipped with this information, the media of Babel, true to their custom, gathered in solemn convention around their victim in the mode of vultures waiting for their carrion to pass from a living, breathing creature to the meat of their next meal.

The mayor looked at the media people with whom he had spent many pleasant hours. He knew that he had to put the best face on the situation. He had worked so hard to please them and yet he was well aware that they would give no quarter. “So guys. D’ yah want me to sing?” he asked. And he broke into a sprightly song:

I done it, I did it,

I might as well admit it,

I did it to fill our voters’ need

I showed them all that I could lead.”

While the entire media group enjoyed the mayor’s singing—especially when he did Shirley Temple impressions in falsetto—they had to interrupt. Some of them had deadlines.

“Mayor,” one reporter asked, “Why didn’t you follow the usual procedure?

“Why didn’t you ask one of us to help you write it?” was another’s question.

A more practical reporter asked, “Who’s paying for the ad?”

“Give me a break guys. You complain that I don’t show initiative and then I show some and you still complain. You complain that I don’t do anything and then you complain when I do something. Will you all make up your damn minds. Since I’m the only guy who understands cops around here, I’m definitely the one to find the right guy for the job that we advertised. And besides, I can pay for it out of the mayor’s slush fund,” the mayor told them.

As the media left, a print reporter asked a broadcast guy, “Did you know the mayor had a slush fund?”

“It’s news to me,” the broadcast guy replied, “but next time we go out for beers with him, let’s make sure he buys.”

– 30 –

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to peter@lowry.me

Comments are closed.