This election summertime ain’t nothing easy

Published 4:34 am Sunday, August 3, 2008

Summertime and the livin’ is easy

Fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high

Your daddy is rich and your mama’s good lookin’

Email newsletter signup

So hush, little baby; don’t you cry.

I was listening to the Janis Joplin version of this song the other day and thinking about election season that’s upon us.

It’s doubly crazy this year. We have municipal elections and the national ones as well. Fortunately, by the end of this month, most of the tale will be told on the local scene.

As the days pass, the rumor mill ratchets up.

My greatest concern is the black boxes missing from the previous election. After all, nobody knows what they could be used for.

If city government is as inefficient as every other bureaucracy we’ve ever known, it’s likely those black boxes are poked away in some box labeled black boxes. The problem being that there’s not enough institutional knowledge in city government at the lower echelons for anyone to know which lowly hourly worker stuffed the black boxes in a cardboard box and labeled them.

Most of us organize our work places as we do our homes. We stuff things in drawers to the extent that it would rival Fibber McGee’s fabled closet. We misfile and misplace most of the time.

Now, if the black boxes were at my house (which they are not so do not come looking) they would be (1.) under the bed (2.) on the bedside table with books I am reading right now (3.) in a box marked “geek stuff.”

The geek stuff box is filled with USB cords, old computer parts, fire wires, pieces of cable — stripped and unstripped — various universal remotes, mouses (mice?) and speaker wires. The box might contain some tools, but I’m not sure. The geek box is in top of a closet, and it’s too high for the short, fat and 50-plus to reach without ascending a chair, which carries with the additional burden of grunts and groans (and fetching and returning the chair to another room).

Indeed, all this palaver about missing black boxes seems to me to push a lot of excitement into an otherwise mundane election season.

It’s so boring, apparently, for local candidates to talk about potholes, garbage pickup, street lights, dilapidated buildings and improved services. Instead, they want to talk about black boxes.

Don’t mistake me. The missing black boxes raise questions. But, honestly, what can we do about something we’re not sure how many are missing, where they are and what can happen if we don’t find them?

Seems like if nobody has cared for four years, it’s suspicious that someone should care less than a month before the election.

But maybe we’re focusing more on that than on who would be the best candidate for which office.

The conundrum of elections.

Sing to me, Janis.