Friday, January 6, 2012

Mayor Baker's Five Stages of Grief

Philosophers tell us there are five stages of grief: denial/isolation, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Jim Baker winds down his tenure as the city's first time three term mayor. His legacy may be more about his rage than the Riverfront; antagonistic disparagements rather than the transformation of The Queen; rhetorical convulsions rather than The Plan for Change that resulted in $80 million from collection of delinquent taxes and parking tickets.. . Here is Aisle Say's fictional take on the flood of emotions from a man who has built his legacy on shooting from the mouth and savaging his critics. The majority of the quotes are his and his alone. Others are representative Scene opens and is set in the 9th floor sanctum sanctorum of the City/County Building. Communications Chief John Rago and Chief of Staff Bill Montgomery are in attendance. 1.DENIAL/ISOLATION “There is NO way I am leaving office”, screams the Mayor as he leaps on his desk slamming his feet repeatedly like a petulant child. “I refuse to believe this is over. The citizens will be wandering in the desert without me. Those idiots in City Council will try to marginalize me this final year, like they did to Captain Queeg in The Caine Mutiny. I just want to be alone. I'm not taking calls from anybody, even those Buccini twins. (The rant ceases for a moment. He arches that long left eyebrow). “Hold on a minute! I have it!. I'll stage a coup d'etat, kinda like that guy Putin. Now, there's a leader!” In a somber and tempered voice, Montgomery suggests, “They've never worked in America, Mr. Mayor. It's unconstitutional” 2.ANGER Baker: “I don't care what you say, Montgomery. Stuff it! If I say it's constitutional, it's constitutional. I'll fight the Council tooth and nail if they want. Doesn't matter to me. They want to have a war for the next year and a half? Fine. We will have it. And it will be past those 400 days when I get re-elected by citizen acclamation. I'll finish off all of them then! Anybody who opposes me, I'll simply call a fool. They'll be too intimidated to deny it!” Counseled Rago: “Not everyone you call an idiot is really an idiot, Mr Mayor. Some are my friends.” Baker: (jumping to the floor) “They're idiots if I say they are. They're nattering nabobs of negativism. (ponders). Who said that? Rago: Spiro Agnew, sir. He ended up in jail. Baker: That shouldn't have happened. And by the way, Rago, you're an idiot for saying people I know who are idiots are not idiots...and there's a whole lot of them out there, especially the ones who don't do exactly what I say!” 3.BARGAINING: Montgomery: “Mr. Mayor, assuming you want to stage this coup d'etat, the press has you painted as the Ndamukong Suh of local politics, stomping on anyone who dares a debate with you.” Baker: (pausing). Hmm. Finally a good point from you. (to Rago) Okay, Rago, you're the spinmeister in this administration. Let's start putting out some pictures with me reading to kids. Get me a couple of juvenile delinquents and get them reduced jail time to say I've been mentoring them for years behind the scenes. Get me on the board of Ronald McDonald House. Rago: “Genius, Mr. Mayor. I'll get right on it.” (Immediately gets out his I phone and googles all child-based Wilmington non-profits) 4.DEPRESSION: Baker sits back hard in his chair, wipes a tear from his eye and in a rare moment of introspection says, . “Life is not worth living. My entire self esteem is built around people I can push around, including my staff. If I can't be Mayor anymore, what will become of me? I haven't had a sale of my book in years, which, by the way, is the greatest encyclopedia on black music ever created. What's left for me?” Rago: “Well, perhaps, Mr. Mayor, you could begin teaching Dale Carnegie courses.” Baker: “There you go, being an idiot again. And a damn fool to boot!” 5.ACCEPTANCE: Baker blows in his handkerchief and throws his head back: “So, it's over. Truth is, I'm fine with it. A collective sigh of relief emanates from the lungs of Montgomery and Rago. Baker: “Ha! Had you two fools fooled for a minute. The hell I'm fine with it. Bring on City Council, bring on all those namby pamby reporters looking for a quote! A person that criticizes me is about an useful as a flea on an elephant. This is a Place To Be Somebody and that somebody is me. I'll kick any body's ass that doesn't agree.” Rago: “Yes, sir. Of course, sir”. (seen whispering in Montgomery's ear as the two leave the room. ...”I've always hated that lame slogan”).

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