As an early Mother’s Day gift to myself, I splurged and bought myself a match.com profile. Now, I know what you’re thinking: Mother’s Day presents are traditionally for, well, mothers. But I won’t be limited by that kind of thinking. Also, you’re wondering whether online dating isn’t beneath someone with my IQ and hairline. The answer is yes. But the people I find through the Yellow Pages have stopped calling me back, and I’m lonely; it’s difficult to wax your own back hair.
I put a great deal of time and care into my profile. It is, after all, the window into my soul. Or something. Interests: hide and seek. I didn’t need to put anything else. That’s how much I like hide and seek. The first week or so, it seemed to be working. I was a match.com hit, but my dates were duds. They couldn’t comprehend the fundamental rules of the game. One of them kept pulling aside chairs and peeking behind Dumpsters and yelling “gotcha” before she’d even found me. I got so irritated that I yelled “gotcha” myself (I was in a decorative urn, with a fern stuck to my forehead with spirit gum—a cliché, I know, but I was in a hurry) and skipped out on the rest of the evening. That’s the last time I go on a date with a candidate for 5th District supervisor.
Oh, did I forget to mention my dud date was Debbie Arnold? I should have known what was in store for me, because she tried to pull the same premature gotcha crap at a political forum sponsored by the SLO Chamber of Commerce and wound up slapping herself in the face on the rebound. I refer, of course, to her attempt to hijack a series of questions from the moderator and use them as an opportunity to question opponent Jim Patterson’s credentials as a farmer. As in, “I know farmers, and you, sir, are no farmer.” (She later told The Trib her left-field question “just came up,” as if a political campaign is run like a trip to the grocery store where you indulge in any ol’ impulse buy you like. Ooh! Chocolate-covered Fritos! We need those!)
After she was politely informed she couldn’t engage in candidate-to-candidate questions, she initiated a heated exchange with Patterson—with both of them unwittingly within range of nearby microphones, of course—and wound up threatening, “I’ll take it to the press if you want me to.” The only heat Patterson packed was a seemingly apologetic “I’m sorry, you’re wrong,” which Arnold was, indeed, later proven to be.
Maybe Arnold and I need to have a talk about how to properly execute the “gotcha” moment. Step one: You actually need to catch someone engaging in misdeeds. That’s the hard part, as she learned rather embarrassingly, but it’s kind of essential. Step two: If you’re going to lay into that someone tooth and nail while their tone is the dictionary definition of polite, make sure no one else is listening. Otherwise you wind up looking like a ’roid-rager on the rampage for a victim, any victim, facts be damned.
Arnold clearly wasn’t interested in discussing Patterson’s background privately. Patterson, on the other hand, was rather desperately trying to talk her down—“We had cowboys and cattle,” he pleaded at one point. And instead of catching a glimpse of Patterson with his chaps down, we got an unattractive view of Arnold without her voter-friendly game face on. I guess when your political leanings tend toward bulldozing, your approach to interpersonal communication tends to follow the same path.
But all of this pales in comparison to the antics when Arnold ran against Patterson in 2008. It seems half-assed bullying is a pattern with this camp. Local legend has it that political higher-ups at the time offered to give Patterson an unopposed election—essentially making Arnold a Doberman the party was willing to leash—if he’d dump his planning commissioner, Sarah Christie. Remember her? She was loathed by Republicans because of her unwillingness to turn endangered marshland into a Ho-Ho factory. Or something like that. The story goes that, at the time, Patterson refused—showing true principle and grit—and when Arnold later entered the race, Patterson handily defeated her with a rolled up newspaper. Only to later cave to pressure and dump Sarah Christie anyway. He denied that there was any political motivation to send her packing, but way to prove a point, Patterson!
I’m not telling you how to vote, and frankly, I don’t care who you choose. I’m a non-voting felon. Also, I don’t feel like abandoning my online harem. You might hate that Patterson helped ban plastic bags in the county. Or you might hate that a vote for Arnold could clear the way for the army of developers eagerly awaiting a board majority that defines affordable housing as housing that turns a profit for developers. The choice is yours, but here’s the skinny, from my perspective.
Voters in the 5th District are left with the following conundrum: In a race between a polite-but-crumple-prone candidate and a forceful-but-gun-jumping-bullying one, who—or, more importantly, whom—do you choose? Now, if we had one of these alleged cowboys from Patterson’s farm, one with dreamy eyes and well-defined biceps, the choice would be clear. You could choose the well-mannered and not at all cowardly cowboy whose only crime is bullying cattle. Also he smells good. Maybe Patterson’s campaign slogan could be “A Cowboy for each Household.”
Subject to limitations and availability. One per household. Only households in the 5th District apply.
Then Arnold can snipe about how the cowboys aren’t really cowboys when she doesn’t realize she’s within earshot of the media. Rawhide! Yah! ∆
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