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Gov. Fester

By David Rutter

Am I the only one in Illinois who watched Gov. Quinn's State of the State fireside chat and thought, hey, doesn't he look a lot like Uncle Fester with just a little more hair?

And then I snapped out of that reverie and realized it was just the mesmerizing quality of Quinn's off-the-3-by-5-note-cards address that allowed my mind to wander if not wonder. While I did my level best to pay attention to the important points the governor was making, I was defeated by two liabilities: He didn't actually say anything, even though I was listening real hard. And, two, he made me sleepy.

I get nearly the same effect while watching the Bob Ross Joy of Painting series on public television. The fact that Bob had been dead for 15 years while his career rolled on to even more sublime heights never diminished the soothing quality of his shows. He had a voice like maple syrup, and I guess his artwork was acceptable if you acknowledged it was dumbed down enough that even I might have been tempted to take a crack at the easel. He did great clouds and mountains. He loved titanium white. His tubes of oils apparently contained no capability to paint humans.

quinn2.jpgThough Bob was hypnotic, I never had a yen to paint for longer than the 30 minutes his show ran - even the kitchen, which could have used a few coats of semi-gloss latex. A noontime dip into Bob's art lessons and one cold Budweiser would send me right off to snooze city. It's safer than using that leftover prescription of Tylenol 3 you were told to throw away but didn't because who in their right mind throws away perfectly good narcotics.
fester2.jpg

Bob Ross had the same effect as Tylenol 3. Don't watch Bob while you're sitting on the couch unless you've blocked out some midday sack time.ross2.jpg
After watching 138 of his shows in Florida, I didn't get much from the experience except his mantra that screwing up with errant brush strokes can be "a happy accident" if you look at it the right way. And then there was the one question about him that no one ever answered: How could a guy who resembled an incredibly white Bichon Frise get that amazing Afro hairdo? It was like this skinny translucent dude was wearing a large reddish bush on his head.

During this Quinn-induced midday reverie, I also was thinking how easy a gig it must be to be a flakazoid for a guy like Quinn, or most state politicians for that matter. The Guv can't possibly expect his flaks and flakettes to be smarter or more vivacious than he is, so that opens up the field to almost all of us.

Though it might be embarrassing to list "Quinn spokesman" as your official employment on an application for bail, most people know it's not your fault that your boss is a dope. After all, most bosses are dopes. He was a dope before you went to work for him, and he'll be a dope when you're working somewhere else.

In between this job and your next employment, you explain the episode to anyone who's interested that it's like your first marriage. Everybody makes mistakes. Some get fixed with a modest check. Others can take decades if you're not careful. I always use the Bogart line from Casablanca about why he went looking for sea breezes and wound up in the desert. "I was misinformed."

I often thought the various folks who appeared in public and announced what their boss, Rod Blagojevich, was up to this fine day must have viewed that job as a bit role in a new Fellini movie, replete with clowns, hallucinations captured with cameras tilted at odd angles and many large, angry Italian women with moustaches. They all looked like they wished they could be doing something else at the moment, like being abducted by anal-probing aliens maybe.

To be fair to the current governor, his amusing, docile ineptitude seems a fair compensation after what the state has endured the past few years. Any state that elected Blago twice has no room to quibble about Uncle Fester With Better Hair. And as far as we know, Quinn hasn't had time yet to do anything of criminal nature.

And if he does, you can guess it won't be a real crime. As with Bob Ross, it most likely will be a "happy accident."

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on January 18, 2010


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