'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
THE SPECTACULAR COLORS OF FALL
Ah yes, it’s that time of year again when the spectacular colors of Fall dominate the landscape. The reds, oranges, and yellows. The blues, blacks, and whites. What? Blue, black, and white, you ask? Oh, I’m not talking about the colorful Fall foliage of the leaves in the trees. I’m talking about the explosion of colors that can be seen everywhere this time of year on political campaign posters.
I suspect a lot of graphic design and print shop companies would be out of business if it weren’t for the month of October. Political campaigns must account for at least half of their annual business. I wonder why the environmentalists don’t complain about the vast number of trees that are “murdered” each year just so people in town can see “Vote for McGillicuddy” at least 6,000 times while driving to the grocery store.
Campaign posters are literally everywhere—on lawns, nailed to tree trunks, stapled to every telephone pole in town. I’ve heard that years ago, before the invention of the telephone pole (the pole was actually invented first, then years later Alexander Graham Bell decided to invent something that could utilize those remarkable poles), politicians had limited choices. There were not nearly as many objects onto which they could staple their campaign posters. So they would hire unemployed textile workers to stand by the side of the road for the last two weeks in October with posters stapled to their bodies. Trust me, no one was more pleased to see the invention of the telephone pole than those pock-marked textile workers.
This year is considered an “off year” for elections. There are no high profile elected offices up for grabs, such as President of the United States, Governor of Connecticut, or Municipal Dog Catcher. And yet, there are still plenty of campaign posters all over town.
The candidates vying for the offices that are at stake this year—mayors, town selectmen (oops, sorry, selectpersons), school board members, etc.—figure this is the year to claim the prominent locations for their campaign posters. Without the Bush vs. Kerry clutter of last year (and, I predict, the McCain vs. Hillary clutter in three years), this is the perfect year to have a genuine knock down, drag’em-out feud between lesser known names, such as Bongiovianni vs. Schwartz-Kellerman, fighting for the coveted position of Fourth Alternate to the Assistant Secretary of the Town Planning and Zoning Commission’s Refreshment Committee. Surely this office is so important it is well worth spending tens of thousands of dollars on campaign posters, not to mention tens of thousands of man-hours (oops, sorry, person-hours) installing the posters all over town.
Speaking of feuds, election season is always a great time to see which next-door neighbors hate each others’ guts. When one yard is completely covered with, say, the blue and gold posters of the Democratic candidate, and the adjacent yard is covered with the red and white posters of the Republican candidate, you can tell the homeowners have lost sight of who actually wins or loses the election, and are now obsessed with outdoing each other. Make a note to drive by those houses in six weeks, when the feuding neighbors most likely will be embroiled in a fierce battle of gaudy Christmas decorations.
Although the ubiquitous display of campaign posters adds to the colorful Fall scenery, and reminds us of the great tradition of freedom and democracy set down by our Founding Fathers (“Whoever spends the most money wins”), there is one request I have for our noble public servants: For heaven’s sake, on the day after Election Day, clean up your mess!
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