Making Big Plans To Do Nothing
Wednesday - May 19, 2010
A semi-retired friend and I have been talking about my own retirement for a couple of years now. My friend is a businessman who goes down to his company’s offices two or three times a week. There he still holds the title of chairman. He spends the morning moving a short stack of papers from one side of his desk to the other. Then he drives home.
Anyway, at some point in our conversations about my retirement, my buddy puts down his wineglass, leans across the table and - with a concerned look on his face - says: “If you retire, will the university let you keep your office?”
“No,” says I, “We’re short of office space. I’m sure they don’t even have a broom closet available for me.”
The furrows in my buddy’s brow grow deeper. “You know, you gotta have a place to go,” says he. “Twenty-four/7 at home with the wife and ... well ...”
I understand. Oh, do I understand. As my 11 regular readers know, I refer to my wife - not without reason - as the high-strung Filipina.
So I ask my buddy, “Do you have an empty office at your shop?”
“Oh sure,” says he. “We have several.” Then he describes to me the work I could do in exchange for an office.
I don’t like his choice of words - or rather, his choice of one word: “work.” This is retirement we’re talking about here.
Despite my friend’s warning, two weeks hence I will be retired and officeless, with “no place to go.”
I know that, with that last evocation of pathos, my 11 regular readers feel my pain. And I’m sure that, if any of you had an empty place for me to go, you would offer it.
Worry not. In my role as a licensed political columnist, I have discovered a solution to my problem. I have found “a place to go.” Indeed, I have discovered not just a commodious office, but one that requires no work and entails no duties.
Yes, you’ve guessed it: I am announcing my candidacy for the office of lieutenant governor of the State of Hawaii.
Oh, I know what some of you - my irregular readers - were saying after reading the last sentence: “Fool! What experience do you have that would qualify you to be lieutenant governor?”
Precisely what the office demands - absolutely none. Remember, the lieutenant governor has no constitutional duties. He or she once conducted elections. No more. The LG casts no votes, crafts no policies, appoints no one to a departmental office. The LG does nothing.
Thus, I am supremely qualified for the job. Ask my wife, the high-strung Filipina. I don’t cook, clean, wash cars, take out the garbage or mow the lawn. I don’t do anything, save read books and watch TV movies - which the LG’s job will afford me abundant time and space to do.
Some of the other LG candidates - the former Senate president, the House minority leader, the former Democratic Party chair - may actually want to do something during those long hours in the office. Not me. No sir. This is my retirement.
“How,” I hear my skeptical readers asking, “can you possibly win?”
“Easy,” I reply. “Because I will run in all primaries: Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, whatever party appears on the ballot. I will not be above partisanship; I will be poly-partisan. Should I end up on a ticket with Duke, I will never stop talking about the private sector and banning beer at the stadium. Should I end up on a ticket with Mufi or Neil, I will always speak of government answers to all problems. (Just don’t ask me for them.)
But my primary qualification for office is that, unlike the other guys, I will accept a salary commensurate with the importance of the lieutenant governorship - in other words, nothing.
Not a dollar, not a dime, not a penny.
I’m not looking for a salary of $126,468 a year. I’m just looking for office space, and “a place to go.”
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