, Newburyport, MA


June 12, 2013

Having a ball at the ballot box


April’s special Senate primary election combined with a local election in Newbury, one of those ballots that always have several elections for offices such as fish commissioner that have just one candidate.

There’s always one office with no candidates at all, and long ago I started writing myself in, as if volunteering for a position that no one wants. Over the years I have received single votes for fish commish, as well as library trustee, tree warden and, if my memory isn’t playing tricks on me, liquid landscaper.

Rumor has it that Newbury’s next ballot will include the position of commissioner for the town’s new “Watertop Reclamation Project.” He or she will handle building permits — “wave waivers” as they are called when the tide is out, “insurance soakers” when it comes back in.

Nobody puts the “sub” in “subdivision” quite like the town of Newbury has these last few years.

In April I put my name in for a position I don’t recall ever seeing on a ballot: trustee for the First Settlers’ Burial Ground.

Spent the rest of the day wondering if I might actually win. Who else would want it?

If mine is the only vote, will Newbury give me the position by default? I swear I’d die for such a prestigious post. And hold it for all eternity.

Experience? Co-workers have asked me to explain why they can’t use cellphones while waiting on customers and exchanging money over a counter. So I have worked with the brain-dead, if not with those who are dead in the full and ordinary sense of the word.

If it’s a job fraught with forms and files, for which I’m completely unsuited, was my whimsical vote a fatal mistake?

Or, as I would have asked back when I was killing off my own brain cells, is it a job I can dig?

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