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Remember, a vote for Ogi is a vote for Ogi

by Ogi Overman

I’m beginning to think I don’t have much of a future in politics. This marks the fourth straight election that I’ve run as a write-in candidate for Greensboro City Council, and I have yet to crack that elusive double-digit barrier. This was supposed to be my year, the year I’d reach my goal of 17 votes, one for each of my loyal cadre of readers, the Sizzling Seventeen. But unless there’s a groundswell of unpaid-off voters (I’m writing this the Friday before the election), I’m going to fall around 11 shy.

I’m pretty sure my figures are accurate because this year I had an ace up my sleeve: bribery. Not only did I promise everyone who said they’d vote for me five bucks, but I sweetened the pot by throwing in one of my seldom-worn neckties from my dazzling arsenal. So, judging from the sound of my phone not ringing, I am going to go ahead and concede the election… before the election.

Everything seemed to be falling in place for me. My District 4 opponent, David Crawford, actually dropped out of the race, leaving the field to incumbent Mike Barber and me. I reckoned that Mike would carry the responsible citizen vote, leaving me the recalcitrant hippie, wino, pacifist, neolib (hey, if you can have neocons, why not?) and necktifiliac (a word I made up for tie-lovers) demographic. Surely there are 17 of those in my district, but somehow I didn’t get the message out.

Dadburnit, I thought I had it all figured out this time, that I’d learned from my past blunders. For starters, instead of waiting to announce my candidacy on the Dusty Dunn radio show (1070 on your AM dial) the morning of the election, I gave myself a full week lead time, announcing last Tuesday. (More than a week of vigorous campaigning can wear a body out, you know.)

I thought my campaign slogan was much better this time, too. I ditched the one I used last election – “How Hard Can It Be?” – that I’d ripped off from Kinky Friedman, in favor of the catchy “It’s Not What You Say, It’s How You Look.” But, for some strange reason, that didn’t seem to resonate with the voters either.

I don’t get it. I had a three-plank platform designed to capture all segments of the electorate. To wit:

I promise to look as good as Robbie Perkins. Note I said “as good,” since nobody in town looks better than the Studly Whiplash of Greensboro politics. I can’t beat him in looks, but where I stand a chance is in the neckwear department, as he is too bogged down in boring solids and diagonals.

I promise to weigh less than Mike Barber. Right now my buddy (and opponent) Mike and I are about neck and neck, but I’ve started going to a nutritionist and plan to drop about 30 pounds by baseball season. I will say, however, that since I became his sartorial advisor his neckwear selection and overall appearance have improved dramatically, rivaling even the resplendent Tom Phillips.

I promise to be taller than Zack Methany. Zack is a younger, shorter version of Perkins, so about the only thing I can beat him on is height. Also, like Perkins, I know he hasn’t won yet, but, hey, I needed a gimme here.

I think if I’d left it at those three I’d have been okay, but that extra week of campaigning forced me to get too specific. Vagueness always works and I fell into the trap of Colbert-esque truthiness. I should have just stuck with “better schools, lower crime, more jobs.” No election has ever been lost by advocating those, regardless of whether the candidate has the first clue about how to bring them about.

Apparently enough people didn’t buy into my vision for reinventing Greensboro with initiatives I’ve been harping on for years: a downtown trolley; a pond that could be frozen in winter using hockey pipes; a Ferris wheel; a Grand Prix track through the curviest parts of town; the world’s largest soda bottle; putting street musicians on the city payroll; bringing a roller derby franchise here; turning Elm Street into Century Boulevard, consisting of one long decade-by decade, block-by-block tourist trap. Hey, how come I suggest a downtown carousel like the one in my hometown of Burlington and folks think I’m a kook, and media mogul Bernie Mann suggests the same thing and he’s hailed as a visionary?

If I do decide to run again, I’ve got a sure-fire plan for victory: plastic surgery. It’s these Nixonian jowls that do me in, isn’t it? Makes me look untrustworthy, huh?

We’ll fix that. Plus, I already have another campaign slogan, even better than this one: “Remember, Ogi Pronounced Backwards Is Ego.”

Ah, like a Cole Porter lyric.

Ogi may be reached at ogiman100@yahoo.com, heard Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m. on “The Dusty Dunn Show” on WGOS 1070 AM, and seen on “Triad Today” Fridays at 6:30 a.m. on ABC 45 and Sundays at 10 p.m. on WMYV 48.

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