An interesting word came up during a recent email conversation with a good friend of mine. It was in response to a question I asked which for some reason convinced me to actually write about it. Folks, the word I was described as being was that of a "pest." Of course my good friend meant no disrespect with his description but rather intended solely to mean it in a jokingly manner. I will say it's certainly better than being called some other ugly words in a society filled with so many of them. I thought about it for a moment and suddenly said "what's so bad about being labeled a pest? If you look it up in the dictionary it is described as "one that is annoying; nuisance." However, sometimes being a pest can be a positive thing, especially when trying to get a truthful answer.
Whenever hearing the word "pest" a funny example always comes to mind. Do you recall two famous cartoon characters associated with Looney Tunes where one would antagonize the other to the point of being a nuisance? Do you remember Elmer J. Fudd and Bugs Bunny? Elmer Fudd was a unique character possessing a ton of confidence in thinking he was the greatest hunter on earth while Bugs Bunny was always out there to prove him wrong. What made the story entertaining was every time Elmer Fudd thought he had the upper hand on Bugs Bunny something would go wrong. Though it repeatedly happened over and over Elmer Fudd was determined to destroy his archenemy.
Another interesting part of Elmer Fudd's character is the unusual way he speaks. I guess you might say he has a slight speech impediment which by today's standards would put him into all kinds of therapy from speech to delayed learning. Watching Elmer Fudd chase Bugs Bunny I never really thought about his speech problem. Instead, I thought about how he always failed in trying to catch that rascally little rabbit. Elmer Fudd's unusual way of speaking is what made the cartoon unique. He would pronounce his R's and L's as if they were W's. For example "Watch the road, you pesky rabbit," would sound like: "Watch the woad, you pesky wabbit."
Suddenly, I thought of something while watching a recent Common Council meeting tackle issues such as the pedestrian bridge, city budget and the other pesky little things going on in our city. I thought of how the Common Council meeting reminded me of an Elmer Fudd-Bugs Bunny episode. What if we had a mayor like Elmer Fudd with five Bugs Bunnies representing us? How might you think such problems would be addressed? Would it be any different? Folks, I would like to share with you an episode from our latest Looney Tune meeting. Keep in mind in order to clarify what Elmer Fudd is saying look at the words in parenthesis. It may be a little tricky to read so please take your time. And now, on with the show.
The title of the show: "It Takes a Bwidge (Bridge) to build a City."
Mayor Fudd: What's this? Council deways pwan (delays plan) for bwidge (bridge) in Amsterdam? You can't do this to me you pesky wabbits (rabbits). This could potenshowee (potentially) hold off a $16.5 miwwin (million) job.
Bugs Bunny Council: What's up, Doc? (while chewing on a carrot) Sorry to be pesky little rabbits but we need to know how much it will cost the taxpayer in the city to maintain this bridge.
Mayor Fudd: This is widicuwus (ridiculous) why wowwee (worry) about it when I have twusty (trusty) fwends (friends) handowing (handling) evewything (everything). We need to wook (look) at this pwoject (project) as being a wemarkable (remarkable) gift to the city.
Bugs Bunny Council: Hey Doc, it's not a gift to the city. If it was a gift we wouldn't have to worry about maintaining it. Doc, I'm wondering, didn't this bridge come from taxpayer dollars?
Mayor Fudd: Actuwawy (actually) it is fwom (from) the Twanspowtation (Transportation) Bond Act. But wegardwess (regardless) of where the money is fwom (from) we need to get it done. This wabbit (rabbit) council needs to be vewy (very) vewy quiet and not question me on evewy (every) widdow (little) pwoject (project).
Bugs Bunny Council: But Doc we are talking about a 50-year agreement with the canal corporation. It almost sounds like another mandate from the state. By the way, are we planning to set aside money in the new budget for long-term costs to care for the bridge?
Mayor Fudd: Don't be scwewy (screwy) wabbits (rabbits) evewything (everything) here is twanspawent (transparent). We'll just use money fwom (from) the golf budget and hopfuwee (hopefully) nobody will find out. If you think I'm a twickster (trickster) then see if you can find the twacks (tracks). There's no cowuption (corruption) in this office. Evewything is pwetty (pretty) much squeaky cween (clean) here and I find this whole situation a disgwace (disgrace).
Bugs Bunny Council: But Doc, we're only trying to get some honest information on questions about the bridge. We're not here to be pests; instead, we're here as representatives of the taxpayers.
Mayor Fudd: Hewo (hello)? Are you wistening (listening) to me? You pesky wabbits (rabbits) wiwa (will) never wearn (learn) about who should be wunning (running) the show (followed by Elmer Fudd's laugh "huh-uh-uh-uh-uh.").
Th-th-that's all folks.
Until next time -- hold th-th-that th-th-thought.
MIKE LAZAROU is an Amsterdam native and a wegular cowumnist. You may contact him at email@example.com.