2008-03-29 / Editorials & Letters

Only Republicans can hunker in the bunker


In 1904, the residents of Baltimore felt the need for a new town hall. The design selected was a remarkably ugly three story structure they couldn't afford but wanted anyway. The citizens felt brave at the time and selected the deluxe model that came complete with roof. As a consequence of their good judgment, the building still stands today with no water leakage that yet extends to the basement. Parking was not a problem since most walked or rode a horse and only the town banker could afford a buggy. Pictures of the new Model T started to appear in the newspapers.

Several efforts were made to make practical use of this new structure including at least one minstrel show, a chautauqua that lost direction and ended up in New Salem, several Bill Boyd movies with live horses and that one memorable night when some guy got up and announced the election results. But the lone anecdotal account of a public hanging cannot be confirmed.In the mid '50's, the last movie was run and the structure, for all all practical purposes, has languished abandoned and in disuse for the last half century - except for the basement.

The new town hall basement, however, was immediately popular, and so as to blacken the new stone foundation walls, the town's first priority was to install a tinnery, an old rubber tire vulcanizing plant and, of course, a coal-fired blacksmith shop. It is said that two blacksmiths tried to move in later but were driven back by the heavy smoke.

Early in the history of the town hall, the common brown rat (Rattus Norvegicus) took a genuine interest in the dirt floor of the basement and reasoned it suitable for a permanent rat colony. Many years later, early council fathers (homo sapiens) reasoned that they must be at least as smart as any stinkin' brown rat and further reasoned that if the place was fitfor a rat, it must surely be fitfor early council fathers and moved posthaste in that direction. As a plus, the early fathers discovered that they had something in common with rats and could co-exist in both peace and tranquillity so long as they shared lunch with the chief rat (Boss Rat).

Early council fathers seemed to have an uncommon ability for keen observation and noted that the rats dug long corridors and cubicles and once again reasoned that if that was good for rats it must surely be even better for council fathers and once again proceeded to move posthaste in that direction. Taking cue from the early rats and fathers, the current Baltimore village administration has moved rapidly to expand and refinethe rat architecture into hallways and fashioned the cubicles into small areas that serve as meditation rooms. (Lots of meditation takes place in small council meditation rooms. The TV adds for even deeper meditation.)

Deep in the dark and dismal dank of the bunker - where de sun don't shine - the village mayor has his own little dugout cubicle complete with huge oversize salvaged desk with the upper molding falling off - at least that's what I saw in my recent visit. It is here that the mayor has spent months pondering why three of the town's major businesses and the town's best known doctor have left under his tenure. This must have been what the mayor was referring to as "booming" new businesses in his recent State of the Village blowfest. In reality, the Village of Baltimore is probably undergoing its most rapid decline since its founding in the early 1800's. Anyway, back in the bunker, the mayor spends the rest of his time scheming new photo meets to once again show off the black suit that he apparently sleeps in. The truly human thing to do now is take up a community donation to buy the mayor a pair of blue jeans so that he can look like everyone else.

Thus the old town hall basement has evolved from its early blacksmith configuration into a tornado proof - and hot-air resistant - political bunker even though horseshoeing service is not available. Nonetheless, we must say that the notion of using the yellow poplar to hide the coal-blackened walls, was absolutely ingenious. Local taxpayers should be advised, however that, of this date, only Republicans are allowed to hunker in the bunker and, of recent, Democrats haven't even been able to establish squatters rights. Regardless - even though I am not affiliated with either political party - what socially conscious person would ever want to gain the right to hunker in the bunker with a stinkin' Republican? Dave Mooney Baltimore

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