by Jim Harris
It suddenly occurred to me that there was an election coming, and that I had not yet declared my candidacy for any office. After some late night meditation and primal screaming atop Toleration Rock, I have decided to run for “Mayor-at-Large.”

You may not have heard of this position before, which is quite understandable since I just invented it. Don’t be put off by this, however. There are many paid employees of the city holding made-up jobs. It’s nothing new. You’ve probably voted for many of them without even realizing it.

The difference with this job, though, is that the Mayor-at-Large will receive no taxpayer-funded salary, only “freewill donations” and endorsement deals, so you really have no reason not to vote for me. If I get enough write-in votes, the powers-that-be will have to recognize me.

Basically, the position will involve attending all ceremonial functions in the Philadelphia area. This will free the “real” mayor to spend more time in City Hall, working on the nuts and bolts of running the city. I’ll be marching in parades, appearing with movie stars, kibitzing with rock groups, cutting ribbons, attending block parties and basking in glory wherever I go. Sociological studies have shown that in times of severe economic hardship, what the people really want is more pomp, and that’s what I do.

My entourage will include:

•A court crier, who will announce my presence with great fanfare and exhort the crowd to “rise and remain standing until all foppish promenading has ceased.”

•Several costumed Disney characters, including my campaign manager, Pinocchio (with a nose that really grows), and Goofy.

•A bomb-sniffing yak.

•An Italian chef, Baloney Pompadoro, who makes the best pasta and hoagies on the 1500 block of Snyder Avenue.

My support crew will consist of my fashion designer, John of Manayunk; my choreographer (all of my moves will be choreographed); my chiropractor; my barber/advisor, Don, who is 105 years old and has incriminating information on half the people in Philadelphia, including myself.

I’m sorry to say that I’ve already had to fire a member of my unpaid staff. I got rid of the city policeman who was protecting me because he was seen having intimate relations with a woman inside his police car. Afterwards, she charged him with speeding.

My official snack food will be Honey Barbecue Cheetos (“Gluten-Free!”), and my campaign song will be “Jesus loves me, but he’s not too crazy about you.” My campaign vehicle will be a specially appointed (orthopedic pillows) Route 23 bus. As a senior, I ride for free.

In addition to the ceremonial duties, the Mayor-at-Large will also be expected to make suggestions and express opinions on a wide variety of topics. I’ll be proposing some new holidays, including Criminal Achievement Day, Pimple Awareness Week and Sperm Donor Day. I’ve already contacted several greeting card companies, and they LOVE these ideas.

I’m in favor of inviting NATO in to run the schools. As far as I know, it’s free. I also think that mandatory hibernation for all Philadelphians one week per month will save tons of money. Regarding public safety, how about moveable walls (available from Wal-Mart) that could be wheeled around to prevent crime or trap fugitives?

On the big issues, I believe in the theory of evolution, but I think we should stop evolving now before we wind up with totally bald women. I’m in favor of colonizing Mars but not Jupiter (it’s too hot). This will allow our population to continue to grow, and thus keep Social Security solvent. On the international monetary crisis, I believe that the Greeks could avoid bankruptcy by having shorter names. All those “Konstantinos Papastefanouangelides” name tags use a lot of ink.

So, when election day rolls around, please write my name on an index card and stuff it into any crevice you can find in the voting machine. If you’re too tired to go to the polls, just mail the card to yourself. This is known as a “common law” ballot, and is legally valid. I give you my solemn word that, if elected, I will be the kind of public servant that the great city of Philadelphia has come to expect.