OF PRINCIPALITIES AND POWERS - “Public Service Is a Public Trust”

(06/02/2004)

By Tony Russell

“It looks like we’re about out of Chateau Ste. Michelle Chardonnay, John, and we’re having friends over for dinner tonight. Could you have your secretary call the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers and ask them to send over a few bottles of unsolicited gifts?”

“Sure thing, sweetheart. How many?”

“About eight cases should do it for now. Be sure and have her tell them that it will add to the ‘elegant ambience at the residence.’”

“Will do. Should I have her order some beer at the same time?”

“Gosh, thanks for the reminder. Yes, have her call Anheuser-Busch and tell them we’d like three unsolicited cases from them, too. And she could order some of those free expensive Cuban cigars you and your friends like, while she’s at it.”

“Who’s coming, anyway?”

“Oh, just the usual lobbyists. Dave and his wife couldn’t make it because he’s tied up supervising the remodeling at our summer cottage.”

“That’s a shame. We haven’t seen them since we all got those free lift tickets up in Vermont. Darned white of him to do all that remodeling work for nothing, out of the goodness of his heart.”

“It is, isn’t it? Maybe you could steer a state contract his way or something, just as a reward.”

“You know, I’ve been thinking the same thing. What’s the good of being governor if you can’t do something nice once in a while for your friends?”

“It’s like a religious obligation, isn’t it? ‘Do unto others as they have done unto you.’”

“We phrase it a little differently in politics. We say, ‘You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.’ Same idea, though. What do you have in mind to do afterwards?”

“There’s a big Michael Bolton concert in town, starting at 8. I thought that would be a great way to cap off the evening.”

“Might be kind of tough to get tickets at this late date.”

“Tickets? Since when do we need tickets?”

[Embarrassed.] “What was I thinking of? I’ll just have my secretary notify them that I’ll be attending the opening night ceremonies in my official capacity as governor with—what, my wife and six guests?”

“Make that eight guests. And don’t forget about next weekend.”

“Next weekend?”

“I thought we’d take advantage of that honorary membership they gave you to the Essex Yacht Club.”

“Sounds good to me. Is there anything else before I head back to the office?”

“Oh yes. What should I do about these four pairs of socks someone upstate sent as a gift?”

“I’m surprised you even asked! Return them immediately, with a note of regret that we want to avoid all appearances of impropriety. Public service is a public trust.”


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