Two Speechless ActsBy Charlie McCormick | January 11th, 2012 | Category: Fiction | Comments Off
On the night of the anointments, technically called appointments for legal reasons, the council members wore their ceremonial white robes, and entered the council chamber in a somber procession.
The candidates for recreation commissioners no longer stood naked in the center of the council chambers, but instead wore clothing appropriate for the traditional submersion ceremony.
The ceremony had originally been conducted on the banks of the river, but again legal reasons had forced the entire ceremony to be held in doors. The town attorneys, Dewey, Cheetam and Howe, had advised years ago that an accidental drowning could bankrupt Oak Town; this precipitated the submersion ceremony for new recreation commissioners to be moved indoors.
While some of the historic context was lost in transferring the ceremony indoors, the practical nature remained unchanged. The candidates for commissioner were not submerged in the river by the mayor during the anointment process, but instead they were dropped into the dunking booth used by the Oak Town Fire Department at the annual Oak Town carnival.
This year there was only one vacancy, and only one candidate who would be annointed a new Oak Town recreation commissioner, Albert DeLinguini.
It was a classic spring evening as the council procession entered the chambers, took their positions, and began the ceremony to anoint DeLinguini a new recreation commissioner in Oak Town. As the hooded council members formed a circle around DeLinguini, the mayor began the ceremonial speech handed down through generations.
“Today, we come together to annoint you, Albert DeLinguini, a commissioner of Oak Town Recreation. You have been chosen because of your valor and brains, strengths needed to confront the dangers inherent in your commission. You have been chosen for your personal honor and your willingness to die for Oak Town Recreation.
When an Oaklandian realizes that their life is not their own, that they have been called by the community to lead, to guide, to protect and sacrifice their life if need be for Oak Town, only then is that person worthy of this anointment.
You are entering into a battle ground to fight for the good health and good sportsmanship of all Oaklandians. You have the maturity, wisdom and insight needed to guide Oaklandians beyond personal grievances, beyond bad calls and cheap shots.
Today we are making you a Recreation Commissioner. You will find great support and great opposition.
Your integrity and character will be tested. You will make difficult decisions while others stand by scratching their crotch and/or ass. You will be tempted to betray your office of commissioner, do not succumb. Stay committed to Oak Town, stay committed to all Oaklandians, and be a commissioner for all the people of Oak Town.”
At this point, DeLinguini perched himself inside the dunking booth and prepared for his submersion. The mayor, taking the Book of Ordinances, whacked the board and sent Albert DeLinguini into a deep dunk.
It was appropriate for the newly anointed commissioner to give a speech, and so DeLinguini emerged from the dunking booth to address both the council and those in attendance.
“In speaking to you, people of the greatest town of the County, people who preeminently and distinctly embody all that is most American in the American character, I wish to preach, not the doctrine of Twinkies, potato chips and pretzels, but the doctrine of Recreation.
The life of sweat and effort, of fair play; to preach that highest form of success which comes, not to the one who desires an easy win, but to the one who tries their best, and who out of this wins the splendid ultimate triumph.
The life of a lazy glutton, of slothful ease, a life of that peace which springs merely from Cablevision, Fios, fantasy sports, or double cheeseburgers, is as little worthy of a nation as of an individual. Who among you would teach your children that ketchup is a vegetable, and that french fries are healthy?
You people of Oak Town have made this town great, you people of Oak Town have done your share, and more than your share, in making America great, because you neither preach nor practice an unholy worship of deep fried food and couch potatoism. You recreate yourselves, and you bring up your children to recreate.
If you are rich and are worth your salt, you will teach your children that though they may have leisure, they can still get up off their ass and do something. If you are poor, you will teach your children that they can kick some snot-nose-ass out on the field and not get in any trouble.
We admire people who embody victorious effort; people who never wrong their neighbor, help a friend, and – most importantly – follow Lombardi time.
We admire those who are fifteen minutes early for a practice.”
In Oak Town, there are many long held traditions and rituals. The pomp & circumstance in Oak Town might give the impression that the appointment of a Rec Commissioner is the same as anointing a king….but they did not.