Guys, of course it’s an honor to be the mayor of this highly esteemed city. It’s just, as you may have gathered from the name, not the most organized place. Case in point: I started writing this post in September of 2021. I assure you, things have not gotten better since then. Heavy is the head that wears the crown/mayor’s suit, and so please indulge me while I unburden myself by sharing a small sampling of my responsibilities as mayor.
Keeping the citizens fed and clothed
I enjoy cooking and I love a challenge. But you try cooking for this combination of people: one who doesn’t care about food but mostly just wants veggies and lean meats, one who pretty much only eats pasta, steak, bacon, cheese and cucumbers, and one who mainly only wants your father’s authentic Chinese cooking or your pale imitations of it. It’s less of a Venn diagram and more three separate circles. I figured out a few go-to recipes, and then quickly got bored of making the same things. This year, we started the Cookbook Project, which involves choosing one of the many cookbooks we have but never use, and having each family member pick a recipe they’re willing to make and eat. It’s been pretty fun, and I get 2-3 nights off of cooking dinner, depending on how much I have to help the turds.
Let’s talk about laundry. I’m really awesome at four stages of laundry: sorting, washing, drying and folding. Unfortunately, there are five stages and no one in our family is good at the fifth stage: putting away. Here are the three hallmarks of Rancho Rourko: 1) there are always a pair of dirty socks on the floor somewhere, 2) there is always a sweatshirt hanging over the back of a chair or on the stair railing, and 3), there is always a laundry basket full of (usually folded) clean clothes somewhere. Slobbiness is genetic and I have passed it down to my children. Also, on principal, I don’t like to put away my kids’ things because then how will they learn? No seriously, someone tell me how they will learn! Because my technique of not picking up after them is not having the sterling results I had hoped.
Pictured: One day’s worth of sweatshirts
Dealing with the canine citizens
The dogs are some of our most joyful and loyal citizens in HMC. They never fail to give me a hero’s welcome every time I walk in the door; Rosie occasionally even yelps like a baby seal out of joy. They also require two long walks and one short one a day, bark at the mailman like he’s one of Omar Navarro’s henchmen, and one of them pees on any available rug or rug-adjacent surface (rug, runner, bath mat) due to separation anxiety, even though we are with her approximately 23 hours a day. That one hour is apparently a doozy, huh, Rosie!
Thankfully, my amazing deputy mayor walks the dogs *a lot* of the time, and two of my staff feed them. I also have to fill up their gallon bottle of “Gatorade” which is a gross green-colored water I make by adding exactly one tablespoon and one teaspoon of this special additive to a gallon of water for their canine dental hygiene because THAT IS A THING. I also have to remember to give them their flea & tick and heartburn meds once a month, which is one of those things normal people probably do easily, but for me, it’s the equivalent of winning a gold medal in the downhill after landing on my butt and knocking both my skis off. I keep expecting someone to give me my propers every time I remember because it’s that incredible, but we have yet to have held a single medal ceremony. Also, we have a third dog now, Rocky Jr., who is made up of the fur Rocky molts daily which somehow manages to be approximately equal to his mass. Needless to say, my life has come full circle since I launched Swiffer in one of my first advertising jobs.
Doing my actual job, which is actually several jobs
Do real life mayors have other jobs besides being mayor? I don’t remember Michael J Fox’s boss on Spin City having another job. But as this mayoral position is regretfully unpaid, I work several freelance jobs to “keep us in the lifestyle to which we are accustomed” (i.e. support my hate-Instacarting habit and susceptibility to Instagram ads). I try to fit these jobs in between washing Rosie’s pee rugs, marinating salmon, and passive-aggressively repositioning sweatshirts in high-traffic areas.
Overseeing the Hot Mess City Schedule of Events
I’m pretty sure real mayors have an administrative person to handle the schedule, but we’re, shall we say, between assistants. Matty and I share a calendar, but we both know who’s in charge. The idea behind the shared calendar is that we’re both aware of where we have to be when, but in actuality, we use “It’s on the calendar” as a thinly veiled code for, “GFY, dickbag,” whenever someone asks when the hockey game is or if they’d been informed of an event. Is it only day-to-day events like hockey practice and dentist appointments, Mayor? Good question. No, no it isn’t. I also have to remember the aforementioned dog medication and every extended family member’s birthday and anniversary, purchase a card well in advance of that date, get the whole family to sign it, and then discover three weeks later that no one actually put it in the mailbox because they “didn’t know where the stamps were.”
Knowing where the stamps are.
Managing a second, real life, elected position
A little secret: I’m more of the default mayor of Hot Mess City. No one voted for me, but I stepped up to fill a void where I saw one, sort of like a lesser Avenger (Scarlett Witch pre WandaVision?). But I did officially get nominated for and elected to be the Secretary of the Boston Latin Academy School Parent Council, because Hazy said it would mean a lot to her if I ran and I’m a sucker. I’d say I should get a sweatshirt that says SUCKER across it, but I’m pretty sure it’s already written on my face, judging by the number of people with clipboards and colored windbreakers who approach me on the street and the man who asked me to buy him a $3 energy drink at CVS and told me it was because he hadn’t gotten to the gym lately. You’ll be proud to know that he then asked if he could have two and I firmly stood my ground and said, just one. But I digress. Did you know that as secretary, you not only go to the monthly SPC meeting and takes notes, but you also go to a monthly prep pre-meeting, and you’re automatically on the Communications Committee that has separate meetings, and you really *should* attend the School Site Council meeting as the two organizations really work hand-in-overextended-hand. Anyway, it’s a heckuva lot of fun and I’m so glad I can do it in my “free time.”
Making Christmas Magic
Granted, this is only once a year, but it’s pretty much a year’s worth of work. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m already behind.
Being the Decider
You have to admit, George W’s comment about being the Decider was Seinfeldesque in its brilliance. Someone has to be the Decider! And as mayor, it’s me. These include minor decisions like, “Can we have lunchsert?” (lunch dessert) and “Where should we do for dinner?” and major ones like where we should go on vacation and whether we should watch Paul Blart Mall Cop I or II (definitely I, sorry George). One the rare occasion where I go on strike from being the Decider, we end up eating dinner hangry around 8:30 pm, while watching some godforsaken movie like Bedknobs and Broomsticks.
Thank you for indulging me. And if you happen to be a resident of Hot Mess City, it’s been and continues to be, an honor to serve you.