Losing Cemetery Vote Buries Candidacy

SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK



Okay, so now that I’ve lost the Town Council primary election, I can tell you all how I really feel.

Well, I just feel lousy.

Actually, as I write this the primary election hasn’t been held yet, but I face stiff competition after learning that, Chicago style, people in Rose Hill Cemetery voted against me. (Stiff competition – get it? Never mind.) Basically, the election is on a Tuesday and I need to have this column ready the next day, a week from now but last week as you read it. Don’t you hate time travel stories?

Not being one to pass up an opportunity for an easy 1,000 word subject, I flipped a coin.

It was tails.

Most likely that was fate’s way of thumbing its nose at me, because I always choose heads. Thank goodness we don’t really choose candidates that way … or maybe it would be a good idea. Personally, I think the best candidate for public office is a military veteran with an accounting degree, a couple of decades working in the private sector, and independent wealth so they don’t have to be dependent on campaign donations from questionable people.

Sadly, I meet none of those criteria, so we’re back to the coin toss.

See, stiff competition, it was a graveyard joke – people are dying to vote. Get it? In fact, last year’s voter turnout in Chicago was 23% in the downtown, and 56% in Lake Forest Cemetery.

Now that I’m no longer a politician, where would I be without my inappropriate humor? More to the point, if I should actually win the primary despite coming up tails, how will I live down this column?

(Note: I lost by six votes. If only I’d gone campaigning stone to stone.)

But my gut feeling is that I’ll lose this one, because I haven’t had time to go out there and do that whole campaigning thing. In addition to having a busier than usual winter, I’ve been running around town at strange hours, and some people probably think I don’t even live here anymore. I do, by the way. I’m no Congressman.

Some of my catching up on things is by e-mail and phone, and that’s just not as visible as what I did last election: I wore a sandwich board at all times with “Vote Marc” emblazoned on both sides, which was both annoying at dinners and very inconvenient in the shower.

Imagine how embarrassed I was to learn late in the last election cycle that I was running unopposed. Even worse, it turns out I spelled “Mark” wrong.

Come on, what’s funnier than a good dead person joke? Although I don’t want to be buried, myself: I want to be cremated, and have my ashes blown in the faces of all the people I don’t like. There’s a list in my will.

Anyway, I lost. So I’m going to take my toys and go home.

Well, I never actually left home, so never mind. I did consider the famous words of Davy Crockett, when he lost a Congressional election: “You may all go to heck; I’m going to Texas”.

“Heck” isn’t the exact word he used.

But I don’t have any hard feelings; I only considered Texas because it’s warm there, and it’s been too darn cold around here lately. I gave up the idea after remembering how Crockett’s trip ended.

(For those of you who aren’t history buffs, he got killed while trying to rent a car from Alamo. And cremated, so no cemetery jokes there.)

I kid, but no way would I leave this town, even if I did lose the graveyard vote. Besides, I don’t have any toys to take home, and whoever started that rumor should be ashamed. Fire trucks don’t count, right?

Since I’m staying, and since this was only the primary and there’s a regular election coming up in November, I thought I’d let the other candidates in on a few things I’ve learned about running for election:

Check on whether you have an opponent. It’s not a given in small town politics, and if nobody’s running against you, that saves a lot of effort. Also, that sandwich born thing chaffs.

Giving out dollar bills in an attempt to buy votes is considered tacky.

If you ask relatives to vote for you and they reply, “What have you done for me lately?” you’re pretty much done.

If you’re going to put up signs, make sure they’re tamper proof. For instance, John Urso’s signs were made out of a material that a black marker just wouldn’t leave an impression on. Couldn’t write “stoopid”, couldn’t draw a Hitler mustache, couldn’t draw a little casket with the caption “his gravest supporters” …

Um, I mean, probably nobody could do that. If they tried. Which I’m sure no one did.

Last but not least, you may or may not accept the idea of padding the vote with people who are, shall we say, living challenged. But if you use a cemetery as a private place to practice your campaign speech, and you hear boos …

Well, just take that as a cryptic message that you should bury your campaign.