What It’s Like To Be Mayor of Dallas

Illustration by Andy Ward
Illustration by Andy Ward
Bret Redman

Here is a little something that Zac and I put together for the back page of the April issue, the entire contents of which do not automatically go online. We gave it the same headline you see on this post and offered no other explanation. See if you can figure out who on this list called because h/she was upset about his/her made-up quote.

Jean Baptiste Adoue Jr. (mayor 1951—1953): “Being the mayor of Dallas is like being one of the best tennis players in the state of Texas in 1915. It’s okay, but you won’t impress anyone from New York.”

Dwaine Caraway (2011): “Being the mayor of Dallas is like being Will Smith in I Am Legend. You’re a badass. You can drive any car on the street. You have your pick, whichever one you want. The keys are in the ignition. Jaguar, Escalade, maybe even one of those Smart cars, just to mix it up. You can haul ass down every street because there aren’t any cops, and you can shoot antelope and tigers and everything with an M16 right out the window as you drive. It’s a total rush. Except then one day everyone comes back, and they’re like, ‘Gimme my damn car.’ And your wife tries to stab you.”

J.J. Good (1880—1881): “It’s like that embargo war we fought down in Mexico. Ill-advised, no one really remembers you did it, and, afterward, being president of the fire department sounds like a pretty darn good idea. I came up with that phrase, by the way. Good idea. That’s me.”

Adlene Harrison (1976): “It’s like being a Jewish version of Leif Ericson. You do all the hard work to discover the New World, you get there first, and then what happens? I’ll tell you what happens. Along comes that schlub, Columbus, almost 500 years too late, and yet he still gets all the credit. Not that I’m bitter.”

Erik Jonsson (1964—1971): “Say you decide to do something for your city. Build a library, for instance. And you go through that whole process — raising the money, coming up with a design everyone can live with, getting all your forms and permits in order, and your engineering studies, and so forth. There’s a lot more to it that I won’t bore you with. So you do all that, and it’s done, and you sit back and sort of say, ‘Okay, this was worth it. I think we have a pretty good library here.’ And for a little while, it is! It really is. But shortly after that, it turns into a place where homeless bums use the computers to look at porn, and you wonder what the point of all of that was.”

Ron Kirk (1995—2002): “Cleavon Little. Look it up if you have to.”

Tom Leppert (2007—2011): “It’s like building a 9/11 memorial using AMERICAN tools you got from a Sears, that you take to work in an AMERICAN truck, like an F-150, and you’re wearing an AMERICAN flag shirt, some type of polo, certainly something with a collar, like a true conservative. Not the kind of thing those career politicians in WASHINGTON would wear. RT if you agree.”

Laura Miller (2002—2007): “The mayor of Dallas is one beautifully tailored Armani pantsuit hanging on a rack at Penney’s next to 14 pieces of Liz Claiborne. I’m not saying that Liz Claiborne is crap or anything. I’m not suggesting that only dumb, poor people wear Claiborne. Not at all. But Armani — and I don’t think I’m going out on a f—ing limb here — is clearly better. On that rack at Penney’s, it’s going to stand out.”

Mike Rawlings (2011—present): “It’s like that time in college when Rick Aloi dared me to drink a case of Schaefer. This was 1975. Rick — Ricky Sticks we called him. I can’t tell you why we called him that because it wouldn’t be polite in mixed company. Let’s just say the nickname referred to the verb and not a tree. Oh, man! They don’t make ’em like Ricky Sticks anymore. He and I played together at Boston College. He played center, and I was a defensive end. Last I heard, he was selling pharmaceuticals in Florida someplace. West Palm Beach, I think? Anyway, Notre Dame put a licking on us at home that year. They called the game the Holy War, on account of the two schools were Catholic and all. Afterward, back at the dorm, ol’ Rick and I were pretty sore about it. That’s when he said, ‘I dare you to drink a case of Schaefer.’ So I did. But after vomiting my eyeballs out for three hours, I was like, ‘Would someone please explain to me again why I thought that was a good idea?’ ”

Woodall Rodgers (1939—1947): “Imagine being on a crowded stairway. There are people in front of you and people behind you — so many that all you see is the back of the person in front of you, and the fellow behind you sees only your back. Everyone is going the same direction, trying to make his way through a door that only one person can squeeze through at a time. And that door, of course, only connects to another crowded stairway. So, yes, while a few people are actually making progress, it seems to the outside observer that nothing at all is happening. It goes like that forever and ever. And the worst part is that stairway is eventually named after you.”

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