By Max Fontaine | Beacon workhorse
Mayor Forrest Bunkard’s first State of the Town address opened with a new poem byAl Schwartz, Bass Lake poet laureate, written especially for the occasion.
Few Bass Lakeans bothered to attend the address so The Beacon has printed a full transcript of Bunkard’s speech. We have also included relevant links to some of the mysterious references contained therein.
The ancients taught us very well
That time is here and nowhere else
And now this time has come at last
To sheath the sword and bury the past
To put our trust not in some drunkard
To put our trust in Forrest Bunkard
— Al Schwartz
Thank you, Al, for that poem. It moved me in ways. Ways.
As I stand today before you, the people of Bass Lake, delivering my first, and I can assure you not my last, State of the Town address, looking back on the tumult of the past few years, I must be honest. As Gerald Ford said in his momentous State of the Union speech back in that dark winter of 1975, and I paraphrase, “The state of the town is not good.”
In the past several years, we have had scandal after scandal plague our small outpost on the shores of Bass Lake. I do not wish to dredge them up again. Or, to strive for literary specificity, “dredge up them again.” You all know what I am talking about. And if you don’t, look them up yourselves. I’ve got things to do. As the Library of Congress likes to point out, “nothing” comes before “something.”
Let’s begin with a thought experiment: Rutherford B. Hayes travels into the future for a cameo in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s.’ Does it extend Audrey Hepburn’s life, or shorten it?
Before you answer, consider this: I don’t want to criticize political predecessors, but former mayor Ms. Shee had her shortcomings. She was so swishy in her bibbity-bobbity hat. Oh God, I could do better than that.
And to prove it, I have an 11-point plan. It’s like astrology, minus cancer, which we must obliterate.
That’s Point 1: Eliminate cancer.
Point 2: Gwen “Tug” McNabb.
Point 3: Recognize the link between birth rates and the post-glam, pre-grunge fun rock of the late 1970s. Think Steven Levitt fronting Van Halen (pre-Sammy Hagar, of course.)
Point 4: Look to the future. You know Al Schwartz may be on to something.
Let’s all put away our knives and have a drink.
Point 5: End corruption (See Point: 2) Let’s take the attitude of Carl Showalter and say to yourself next time you’re faced with trading a pizza for a moving violation fine, “I want to be in compliance.”
Point 6: Finish the damn sidewalks. Our nation can build Hoover Dam, but our town can’t find a concrete solution to the sidewalk problem? Buy a truckload of cement, get some sand and water, find about 10 people, this’ll take us about three days. Get ‘R’ done.
Point 7: Art and/or Poetry in the Park will happen. Emily Dickinson once wrote, “I am nobody! Who are you?” Without that question from poor lonely dead Emily, The Who would never have had a hit in 1978. So our very own Emilee Van Dickinson deserves our support. Not to be taken away.
Points 8 through 11: Still working on those. I was up late last night fixing a leaky toilet at Bass Lake Public/Private Library. To paraphrase Dean Wormer, “Every Halloween, the stacks are filled with underwear. Every Divisional Playoff weekend, the toilets explode.”
In conclusion, I want to thank the tens of you who voted for me. I will not let you down. To paraphrase Truman/Capote: “The buck stops here, just like you took a child out in the backyard and shot it.”
Oh, and don’t go anywhere, Tug, I need to have a sit-down with you.
Thus concludes the transcript of Bunkard’s State of the Town speech.