Tuesday 27 Sep 2016

Help for Candidates
David Simmonds

I want to help the busy candidates for mayor throughout Ontario this fall. Here's an all-purpose speech template. Candidates - just go through what follows and choose option A, B or C. Square brackets indicate an instruction.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am:

A. Proud to have been born and raised in the county and to trace my roots back seven generations. Not that for a moment would I suggest you distinguish candidates on this basis. I just wanted you to know.

B. Proud to be descended from the settlers of this county. I'm fudging that a bit.

C. Proud to be living in a county with such a rich heritage. Let's move on quickly. I want to thank you for inviting me to speak. I'm especially glad to be here today because:

A. At these home meet and greets you usually get decent snacks. Are there any butter tarts?

B. Today's seniors are tomorrow's permanent residents.

C. [For Picton, Ontario, candidate speeches only]. Some sort of altercation will probably take place and liven things up.

I am running for mayor of this county because,

A. I believe we can do better.

B. We can achieve our full potential.

C. We need fresh ideas and new energy.

I believe in a county that is:

A. Prosperous and sustainable, mindful of our past but looking to the future.

B. Moving ahead on a go forward basis.

C. Up to date with the contemporary trends of modern today.

To get there we will need:

A. A thorough review of all our existing programs.

B. To cut fat wherever we find it. I guess I'll pass on those butter tarts. Well all right, just one or two.

C. To reduce the bloated, out of control bureaucracy at Shire Hall.

I was a councilor for the last few years, but you can't blame me for the economic or social problems because:

A. I was saving my best ideas until I ran for mayor.

B. I missed all the meetings because I got the times wrong.

C. I fought like hell for you but I was completely ineffectual.

Still, we must do more for:

A. Our young people.

B. Our seniors.

C. Our golfers.

I intend as mayor to make it a priority to:

A. Protect our heritage by providing funds to reconstruct

demolished buildings.

B. Give the economic development officer a spanking, and hire a

replacement to develop the same policies.

C. Make it illegal for visitors to enter the county with less than half

a tank of gas.

[Pause here to,

A. Bathe in rapturous applause.

B. Kiss baby, pet goat,

C. Kiss goat, pet baby.

Do not read this aloud]

Some have suggested that I am:

A. Against development of any sort.

B. Against taxes of any sort.

C. Against taxes of any sort and development of any sort.

Let me say this to that:

A. It's a long highway that doesn't have a Tim Hortons.

B. It we were all three feet tall, we'd be Martians.

C. All I ever accepted as a benefit from this job was a $10 cloth coat for Pat from the County Farm Store. [Pause here to wipe 'tears' from eyes]. Do not read this part aloud either, but it's probably too late to stop you now. I told you speechwriters should be paid $25 an hour, but no, you insisted $15 as the maximum; cheapskate.]

I refuse to be drawn into the sort of name-calling that would label my opponent as:

A. The sort of person who would never be caught dead in a restaurant on the Taste Trail.

B. A loser who couldn't get a paying job anywhere else.

C. A troublemaker who has got his own agenda.

My friends, in closing, may I emphasize the importance of doing your civic

duty and voting. But you'd better gosh-darned vote for me or I'll get heck

from my campaign manager [pause here allow for gasps of breath followed

by nervous titters]. To paraphrase:

A. Garth Brooks.

B. Fats Waller.

C. Richard Rodgers.

I say to you [may be spoken or sung]:

A. You'll have friends in high places.

B. No feat's too big.

C. Climb every goatherd, till you find your dream.

And so we will march on to victory with our slogan:

A. "I am the wind beneath your kilt."

B. "Because, because, because, because, because..."

C. "Hotter than a pepper sprout."

[Break out Dixieland band music. Retire to back room and curse stupidity

of: A. Campaign manager.

B. Audience.

C. Humour columnists.]

Some readers seem intent on nullifying the authority of David Simmonds. The critics are so intense; Simmonds is cast as more scoundrel than scamp. He is, in fact, a Canadian writer of much wit and wisdom. Simmonds writes strong prose. He dissects, in a cheeky way, what some think sacrosanct. His wit refuses to allow the absurdities of life to move along, nicely, without comment. What Simmonds writes frightens some readers. He doesn't court the ineffectual. Those he scares off are the same ones that will not understand his writing. Satire is not for sissies. The wit of David Simmonds skewers societal vanities, the self-important and their follies as well as the madness of tyrants. He never targets the outcasts or the marginalised; when he goes for a jugular, its blood is blue. David Simmonds, by nurture, is a lawyer. By nature, he is a perceptive writer, with a gimlet eye, a superb folk singer, lyricist and composer. He believes quirkiness is universal; this is his focus and the base of his creativity. "If my humour hurts," says Simmonds,"it's after the stiletto comes out." He's an urban satirist on par with Mike Barnacle, Jimmy Breslin, the late Mike Rokyo and, increasingly, Dorothy Parker. He writes from and often about the village of Wellington Ontario. Simmonds also writes for the Wellington "Times," in Wellington, Ontario.

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