Ring! Ring! Ring!
"Hello, Gov. Deal’s office. May I help you? One moment, please. Governor, you have a call on Line One."
"I’m in a very important staff meeting. If it’s that flap-jaw from the Ethics Commission who says I ‘owe her,’ tell her I am looking to get her a job in Djibouti herding camels or yaks, or whatever they herd there. That should more than pay my debt to her."
"No sir. It’s not her. It’s Gov. Perdue, and he says it is very important."
"Very well. Sonny, how are you? Good to hear from you."
"Thanks, Nathan, but if you don’t mind, call me George E., please. George E. has a certain crochet about it, don’t you think?"
"I think you mean ‘cachet,’ but why the change?"
"Well, Nathan, a modest and much-beloved columnist started calling me ‘George E.’ a number of years ago, thinking it would irritate me, but, much to his surprise, I kind of like it now. It has enhanced my image, and that’s the reason I’m calling."
"Nathan, I read the other day that you guys are taking down the statue of former Sen. Tom Watson at the Capitol, and if I may speak frankly, I would be an obvious candidate to replace him."
"Yessir. To quote that woman at the State Whatever-You-Call-It Commission, you owe me one. You have to admit that I have made your job pretty darned easy."
"Nathan, I created "Go Fish, Georgia" so that our state would be a major player in the competitive international marketplace of the 21st century. All you have to do when you go overseas these days is tell folks there’s some mighty fine bass fishing in Georgia and then just sit back and watch them fall all over themselves to open a plant here."
"Well, I’m not sure ... "
"Then there is the fact that I am the only governor in history to give an elephant a physical. Even that guy, Schwarzkopf, out in California didn’t try that."
"It was Schwarzenegger. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. And I don’t see what that has to do ... "
"Listen. Thanks to me, you won’t ever have to ride a motorcycle around the Capitol in a leather jacket while you are governor, or have your picture made wearing a football jersey two sizes too small, or talk to a bunch of school kids with a Dr. Seuss ‘Cat in the Hat’ thingy on your head. I’ve done all that stuff. I’ve given the office crochet, Nathan.
"All you have to do is just worry about the little piddly stuff, like funding public education. And speaking of that, don’t forget that I helped create the Common Core curriculum."
"Please, let’s not talk about Common Core."
"Let me play hardball with you a minute, Nathan. We both know you had a hand in getting our mutual friend, Chip Rogers, the former Senate majority leader, a cushy job at Georgia Public Broadcasting making about two hundred thousand smackers a year, even though you did require him to dress up like Big Bird and do a radio show that nobody listens to. If you could accomplish that, I know you can get my statue on the Capitol grounds. I’ll even dress up like Oscar the Grouch and lobby the Legislature, if that will help."
"OK, George E., I promise I will look into the matter. But, may I ask you why a statue is so important?"
"When I saw you were removing Tom Watson’s statue, I remembered that the aforementioned modest and much-beloved columnist predicted that when I left office I would be ranked in the pantheon of great Georgia governors — statesmen like Humphrey Wells and Seth John Cuthbert. I really can’t disagree with the man. I do have some serious crochet.
"By the way, when you create my statue, be sure to include a largemouth bass and an elephant getting an enema. So long, Nathan, and don’t forget that you owe me one." Click!
"Chris, quick! Call Djibouti and see if they can use a camel herder and an expert on elephant poop who likes to crochet. Tell them I am doing a favor for a couple of old friends. Thank you. Now, staff, back to our meeting. Next on the agenda I believe are the sketches for my new statue."
You can reach Dick Yarbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Ga., 31139.