Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Letter To the Former Mayor

Joe Kernan used to be the Mayor of the town I grew up in. I have held a small grudge against him for the last 18 years.

Joe Kernan
110 E Pokagon Street
South Bend, IN 46617

Dear Mr. Mayor,

It’s a pleasure to write to you, sir, who served both the city of South Bend and the state of Indiana so well for so many years. I grew up in South Bend, and I remember wondering if anybody ever even bothered running against you for city mayor. This was back when I was a very little kid, though, and did not yet know about the South Bend Democratic machine. When I later went to Ohio for college, I wondered why nobody celebrated Dyngus Day!

Anyway, the reason I’m writing you today has to do with those bygone days of the early 1990s. You see, Mr. Mayor, we’ve actually met before. It’s true! When I was in the second grade at Booth Tarkington Elementary School, I went with Mrs. Gladura and the rest of my classmates downtown on a field trip to see you. We went up just before lunch time and all sat on the floor around your big desk to listen to you tell us all about running South Bend. I remember you said you went to Notre Dame, and Mrs. Gladura made sure to mention your time served in Vietnam, so that we all knew what a service you had done for our country. Thank you very much, by the way!

Now, everything was going great up until the very end. The trip was ending, and everyone began to file out of your office. I, however, hung behind, because I was determined to talk to you and make you like me (I am a youngest child, and thus very attention-hungry). As it was 1990, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had a popular Saturday morning cartoon, and I was a fan. Deciding to use the crude vernacular of the turtle Michelangelo, I confidently walked up to you and, smiling widely, proclaimed that, “This was a totally bodacious trip!”

Let me explain something. First, even though I was only eight, I was already very smart and manipulative. Did I think the field trip was totally bodacious? No, that was hyperbole. I was exaggerating to get your attention. Also, did I ever actually talk like that? No, in fact, I knew I sounded like an idiot, but I also knew you’d think it was cute. Remember, youngest child.

To continue, what happened next has haunted me for years. Beaming at my high review, you called your secretary into the office. Then you asked me to do it again. I was stunned! Sheepishly, I mumbled that it was a totally bodacious trip. No, you said, do it like you did before! Oh, how tiny I felt! Hoisted by my own petard, I was now reduced to performing my cheap act in front of your friends and coworkers! I swallowed my pride, though, and put on a grin once more. “This was a totally bodacious trip!” I chirped. I still shudder at the words…

Anyway, I just felt it was time to tell you. I don’t expect you to apologize (although it might be nice). I learned a powerful lesson that day, about never selling yourself out just to be liked. Also, we went to McDonald’s afterwards, so all in all it was a pretty good field trip.

Sincerely Yours,


The Correspondent

4 comments:

Tom said...

That was a pretty bodacious letter.

42jeff said...

McDonald's cheeseburgers are totally bodacious

Anonymous said...

My brother saw him sculling on the St. Joseph River and he waived.

Pete said...

At least he was wearing a shirt, unlike the first time I met him.