An Endorsement of Sorts
Mayor Tom Barrett, left, faces Governor Scott Walker in a recall election today.
For many years I worked as a cashier at a joint named the Brady Street Pharmacy. Finding a place like this is rare now– it was an independently owned greasy spoon, convenience store, and pharmacy. It had what we call in the writing biz a lot of “character.” I also called the place the “Joke Factory” and “Wingnut Central Station.” It closed down and the reason for that– to be blunt– was because my boss, Jim, was moonbat crazy. (Need hard evidence? Here you go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5otQKJ9Lxuw)
After a long, stubborn battle, the Pharmacy’s doors shut permanently and it is now the Glorioso Bros. grocery and deli.
It is difficult to document all the mistakes my former boss made that led to his business shutting down, but taking the role of an archaeologist, I’d say it was his decision to transform his grocery and greeting card section into a small theater (that sat about 40 people).
Although this was nice for some local thespians and artists, it cost him a lot of money with no realistic plan to see a return on his investment. As money flew out of his business, Jim decided to blame not himself, but that perpetual villain we all loathe: the politician. He began to write a series of angry e-mails.
“Here, proof this for me,” he told me one day, handing me a draft of an e-mail addressed to Senator Herb Kohl. It was a long, rambling screed that made no sense. I corrected his spelling errors and handed it back, completely puzzled as to the point.
Soon after, he wrote another rant to Mayor Tom Barrett and gave it to me to read, a defiant look on his face. Again, it didn’t make any sense. The wording was very angry. A paragraph in I realized it was unreadable, so I made pretend that I was reading the rest of it, moving my eyes back and forth, and handed it back to him.
“Very interesting approach, Jim.” I told him, handing the letter back.
“Oh boy! This is really going to shake up city hall!” He told me, and began strutting around the dingy grey carpet of the Pharmacy like he was Paul Revere.
“Mmm-hmm.” I replied.
The next day I dragged myself into work. I was tired. Jim was waiting up front by the cash register, his arms folded in front of him.
“Do you remember that e-mail I sent off to city hall?!” He said, giddy with himself.
“Yes.” I replied.
“No response from them, the cowards!” He told me, then went on a spiel about him, the little man, throwing a stone at the Goliath of city hall, who was too scared to look him in the eye by answering his e-mail.
I came into work the next day. When Jim saw me come in, he almost ran up to the counter to talk to me.
“Guess what! No reply to my e-mail! I guess I was too much for them to handle…with a hey nonny nonny and a ha cha cha!” Jim randomly broke into song and dance sometimes, and he started doing an awkward version of the Charleston down the aisle. Like I said, moonbat.
The day after that, I walked into work and Jim was talking to some little old ladies who were regulars. They could hardly see or hear but he was telling them about how he was like Jimmy Stewart’s character in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, it was a tough fight, but his unanswered e-mail proved that city hall was shaking in fear of him.
“Otherwise, they’d answer my e-mail,” he told them proudly.
“What?” Said one of the little old ladies.
I got to work with the pricing gun, labelling mouthwash and generic cookies and such.
Later in the afternoon I was still pricing stuff when Mayor Tom Barrett walked through the doors. I smiled.
“Hi!” He said.
“Mayor Barrett.” I said, and shook his hand.
“I’m looking for Jim,” he said. “I understand he has some things he’d like to talk to me about, I got an e-mail from him.”
“He’s at his desk back there,” I said, pointing to the pharmacy counter. “So…have fun with that, Mayor Barrett.”
Jim’s afternoon ritual was to lean back in his chair and sleep and if anyone needed him, they’d have to fake cough or clear their throat, which is what the Mayor did. Jim stood up, opened his eyes, and I’ll never forget the look on his face. It was a great moment, he looked absolutely shocked. I thought he might faint.
Jim was a lot less combative face to face. He talked in a polite tone and the Mayor listened, nodding his head, and listened and listened and tried to follow along with what he was saying. After he listened, and Jim was finally done with his monologue, he bought some popcorn and left.
Jim came up near the register. I was hoping I could kind of get him to admit defeat by casually asking:
“So how about that, the Mayor responded to your e-mail in person?”
“Yeah.” Jim said. For once he was out of things to say.
Now, this story isn’t really a political one. It’s not a good reason to vote for someone, and I’m not qualified enough to tell you who to vote for. I was personally more impressed with the Mayor after that, which is part of the reason I’ll be voting him for governor in the recall election today.
The other reason, I guess, is that I think Scott Walker sucks.