I did some freelance book design a few years ago for a dude I'll call Caleb, who lived in America's west, who owned a small publishing business. Over the course of the business relationship, I learned that his spelling and grammar were more atrocious than that of the average book publisher, but he was smart enough to rely heavily on his computer's spellchecker. Things didn't work out so well when he wrote handwritten missives, but hey, no one's perfect, right?
Glen and I had the pleasure of meeting Caleb when he drove east to visit family (in Kentucky), and he'd never been to the northeast, so he "swung by" for a visit. We're probably too damn nice to begin with, but we also wanted to show the guy a good time so the work would keep coming. We took him to Philly; we took him to New York City. Will filled him up with awesome pizza, cheesesteaks, and bagels, since he had never had any of that. I suppose if you've never tried something, you don't know what you're missing, and perhaps, you get used to the slop you've been eating. It's one thing to so sadly feel that way, but another entirely when you feel compelled to brag about it. So Caleb, of course, could make better pizza in his cake pan in his trailer at home, and could get a better steak sandwich at the gas station at his town's corner. He was unimpressed with the Empire State building, claiming it was "just a building." The views from where he's from, of course, were far more spectacular, and the natural formations more majestic than any of the monuments to humanity's ability to create, here in the northeast.
I hate to be indelicate, but this is just too good to not mention. Caleb bitched about the humidity that mild weekend in May when he "swung by," and it caused him far more difficulty than he was used to in the little boy's room. What Caleb did after a spell in the restroom has become legend to us, part of our story as a couple. The bathroom was right off the kitchen, and Glen and I were simultaneously prepping a meal and tidying up, when the odor hit; Glen inhaled it first, and apparently, it burned his nostrils, trachea, and lungs. Glen is a fairly protective guy, and so he quietly, but urgently, ushered me out of the kitchen and into the living room. "Thank God you didn't have to smell that," he whispered to me. "I think I'm gonna be sick!"
So I read a magazine for what felt like an hour; Glen, always helpful when interpreting the blow-by-blow of events, periodically popped his head in to let me know about the smells and sounds coming from the other room. Finally, Caleb entered the living room, covered in sweat, face blotchy red and white. He wiped his brow with the back of his hand, uttered a belabored "whew," and collapsed in a heap into our couch. This is probably too much information, but to this day, Glen and I often wipe our brow, say "whew," and fall into the couch after we've been to the bathroom, because it's just great fun, good memories.
Anyway, after Caleb finally left, we had dinner with one of Glen's Canadian friends, and the two of them talked at great length about America, the land of opportunity, even for morons. After all, how is it possible for an ungrateful, rude, and kinda stupid dude to run a small, but successful BOOK PUBLISHING company? "Only in America," Glen and his friend kept saying.
We do live in quite the country if a guy like that could live his dream and conduct a reasonably successful business. We also live in quite the city if a dude like Paul Pintella could actually think to run for mayor. It's quite the feat, of course, that he's not only won a seat on city council for several terms, but that his colleagues on city council actually made him -- he of little patience for the masses -- council president, too. Only in Trenton!
My life has been spiraling slightly out of control over the last couple of months, with everything running together, and my days and nights getting confused. But now that the holidays are over, I feel maybe I'll be able to establish some new routines; I hope, anyway. I'd like to blog more regularly, about more than just my screwy life. But I see I'm late to the party about Paul Pintella's sparkly new website, where apparently he is more than just the asshole who, in one of the mysteries of the universe, sits on city council and plans to run for mayor; but is also a civic association unto himself. I read about it first on The Ruins of Trenton (thanks, Greg!). Paul Pintella Civic Association fills me with conflicting emotions of amusement and disgust. Only in Trenton!
Just as Caleb shouldn't be running a book publishing business — and, for the record, doesn't anymore, since his, uh, personal style has finally impeded long-term success — Paul Pintella, Civic Association and individual, has had a good run, and it's time for it/him to fade away. I'd like to help him become but a (bad) memory in Trenton's (sad) past, and while my life right now won't allow me the flexibility to jump right on, I'm more than happy to bring up the rear.
Much of the site is "coming soon," and I am on the edge of my seat, in that weird place of delight and dismay, waiting for everything to be finished. In the meantime, I am elated to see the AskPaul section of his site is operational. I, for one, plan to ask him a lot of questions, and urge you to do the same. Here are my questions today:
- You've been known to be a bit grouchy with community members during the public portion of city council meetings. Do you plan to uphold this tradition if, in the unlikely event, you are elected mayor?
- Will your posse be as big as Doug's? Please elaborate. How many bodyguards? Drivers? Assistants? Lawyers? Habidashers?
- Where's the money?
- Will you promise to leave politics if not elected? Please?
- Will you link to my blog?
- Who do you hate more, Sporty Joe or Paul Harris?
- Is Doug's ass smooth or pimply?
Pintella claims he's putting the people first, but his rude and abrasive history with the people, prove otherwise. He's had a good run, and it's time to get some new blood involved with city politics. It's time to stop saying, "only in Trenton." If we can't get a joke of a politician like Paul out of our politics, well, then, the joke's on us.