Saturday, June 17, 2006

Inebriated Seamen for Sound Fiscal Policy (ISSFP)

I was fortunate enough to have another column published in the State Journal-Register. Once again, thank you to the SJ-R for giving an unknown blogger a chance. And thanks to everyone who emailed me or posted comments to the online edition of the column .

In the article, I reference a comment that Governor Blagojevich made, I believe it was during his first budget address shortly after taking over the governorship, in which he asserted that state legislators spend the taxpayers' money "like drunken sailors." Needless to say, the Springfield insiders were appalled. But surprisingly, no one spoke up on behalf of the sailors after they had been accused of fiscal ineptitude, unfairly I might add.

So incensed was I over this unjust characterization that I ghost-wrote a letter of rebuttal on their behalf. Since newspapers aren't in the habit of publishing letters from fake sailors and I didn't have this blog at the time, the letter grew yellow in my archives. But I am publishing it here today and have to think that we are all the better for it.

Respected Publisher,

When Governor Blagojevich recently accused legislators of "spending like (sic) drunken sailors", I can only assume that he was accusing them of advocating imprudent expenditures. Speaking for drunken sailors everywhere, allow me to voice my displeasure at this gross mischaracterization.

Given the high price of spirits and a seaman's meager wage, drunkenness and financial discretion go hand-in-hand. To suggest otherwise is ludicrous. To consistently sail the seas at a respectable level of intoxication, one must possess keen fiscal acumen and pay strict attention to budgetary objectives. I use Quicken to assist me in these matters, as do many of my mateys.

Therefore, contrary to the governor's implication, to accuse an elected official of spending in a manner similar to that of a drunken sailor is to pay them the ultimate compliment in pecuniary propriety.

It seems that in this age of political correctness, the only group of people that it is still safe to stereotype are us sots of the sea.

I am a sailor of the great buccaneer tradition. I can tell you that perceptions of our lifestyle have no resemblance to reality. And that your jokes sting to the bone.

People think that we pirates live a libertine lifestyle, concerned only with material pleasures. That it is all swashbuckling and salty limericks. Nothing could be further from the truth. The treasures that we pillage from passing merchant ships are barely enough to pay for our provisions and maintenance to the schooner. Believe me, nobody becomes a pirate to get rich. We do it because we have the ocean in our blood – along with a good deal of alcohol.

I hope as the governor embarks on his first term in office, that he learns to choose his words more carefully. To show him that there are no hard feelings and to prove my point that drunken sailors have a knack for matters financial, let me offer the governor this advice: Don't let anyone talk you into selling the Lottery. It might look tempting at first, but trust me it's a loser, and you'll be remembered as the governor who sold the state down the river. Raise taxes if you have to, but don't sell the Lottery. Also, don't defer payments to the pension fund, but that pretty much goes without saying.


Obed Nickerson

I hope this clears some things up and hopefully we'll all be a little more careful in the future about tossing about the old "drunken sailor" line.


Anonymous said...


It's time to get an agent and go to "the show." If you were a minor-leaguer you would be hitting .346 with 22 hrs and 56 rbi's.

The SJ-R doesn't deserve you. To show you their gratitude and respect they should give you Povse's job. Now!

NK5 said...

Hey bro

This is truly "Onion"-worthy.

Russ said...

Erma Bombeck and Lewis Grizzard got rich writing stuff that was not as funny, smart or well-crafted as your columns. Of course, they are dead now. So you're doing pretty well.