I Dreamt of being Mayor of Sanibel
Some kids dream of becoming astronauts, firemen, air traffic controllers, plumbers or hazard waste handlers. Not me. When I was a kid I had only one dream, one vision and one wish to become mayor of Sanibel. The fact that I never did is a testament to the good sense of Sanibel citizens.
When I was a kid I saw the movie “All The King’s Men,” in which a poor boy grew up to become governor of Louisiana. He ruled that state as a virtual dictator and that made the idea of becoming an elected official that much more appealing to me. The heck with becoming a fireman, I thought. I want to be a governor of a state.
In time, my ambition was scaled back. I thought I’d start out as a mayor and then graduate to becoming a governor and then possibly President of the United States. I wanted to live the American dream. But that dream was periodically interrupted by my mother’s screams to get out of bed each morning and go to school. She was right. How could I become a mayor without an education? I would need to know math and arithmetic so that I could manage budgets and create programs that would benefit the masses.
I trained hard to become a mayor. I ran for class president five times and lost each time to a funny looking nerd who knew how to press flesh and grant favors. I must admit I was a nave candidate at the beginning. I didn’t realize how to make promises then that I wouldn’t keep. It wasn’t easy at the beginning but I knew that I needed a mayor trainer someone who would teach me the ropes of winning and holding office.
I finally did meet that someone Meyer Briggs. Meyer was actually a classmate who saw my potential and felt sorry for me when I lost class elections to nerds. Meyer had run the nerd campaigns in exchange for a seat at the table. He liked to be the power behind the power. When he saw me standing on the outside ledge of the school building after my fifth consecutive loss, ready to call it a day, he agreed to take me on. I guess he considered grooming me into a viable candidate his great challenge.
Meyer was a natural campaign manager. He taught me how to create campaign slogans like “Stevens for class president -he’ll stand up to the principal.” He taught me how to hand out Hershey’s chocolate kisses to gain votes. And to promise longer summers off when he knew I had absolutely no control over that.
It didn’t matter. When I ran for class president the sixth time against Al Capone IV, I finally won. It didn’t matter that three of my campaign aides showed up at Election Day with bloody noses. I won, that’s what counted.
Meyer taught me how to deal with adversity like having to explain why the school year ended the same time as the year before even though I had promised that summer recess would start on April 30. I urged the kids in my class to go out on a mass strike on April 30 but I guess their parents overruled them.
I got older, went on to higher level grades and with Meyer running all my campaigns I won every elected office I ran for. I became president of my college fraternity, the neighborhood Elvis Presley fan club and my social club the Gourmet Pizza With Extra Cheese Lovers Society. You name it, I was president of it.
I was now ready to run for mayor of something. But where? Should it be New York where I was born and raised? Nah, too big. I needed to start smaller. So I had Meyer do a search for me to find a small city that needed fresh thinking and new blood.
He came up with Dodge City, Truth or Consequences and Sanibel. I chose Sanibel because I knew my destiny would bring me there.
My wife and I bought a home in Sanibel more than 20 years ago and I’ve been waiting for the right opportunity to run for mayor. I’ve been champing at the bit but Meyer, who has stayed in my corner all these years, has counseled me that it wasn’t the right time yet. He said that I needed to wait until there were scandals in Sanibel that required me as the white knight to jump in.
Well, I’ve waited all these years and there haven’t been any scandals, no one was driven from office and clean, professional government has seemed to prevail. There just hasn’t been the right opening for me to rise to the occasion and save the day for Sanibel residents.
But I’ve been in training to be a mayor and so I’m biding my time. All I need to bring my mayoral talents to Sanibel is for just one mayor to step out of line. Just one teeny, tiny scandal. It could happen any time. I’m waiting and waiting and waiting…