Mayor Coogan -- My Barber -- July 18,1991
I don't know how many people there are in this world, living in different countries, that can be privileged to have the Mayor of their city cut their hair. It's true -- it's true!

Somewhere on the border of the Southeast corner of Detroit, in Michigan --- USA --- there is a little city of 11,000 people, called Melvindale. It used to be a farm-town before that, with lots of swampland and open fields around the turn of the century. Then ol' man Henry Ford built the Rouge plant along the Rouge river and started building automobiles -- which they nicknamed the "Tin-Lizzy". A part of the Rouge river runs through Melvindale, and also Dearborn, where it is said ol' Henry used to ice skate to work in the winter. I never could understand why they named the car "Tin-Lizzy", because you'd have to use a sledge-hammer on the fenders before you could put a dent in it. Those were the days when almost everyone used to be a backyard mechanic and fixed his own car. Now, because of all the sophisticated engineering on cars, even the mechanics don't know what the hell they're doing. And to think our government wanted to eliminate pollution. Hell, if they wanted to really eliminate pollution, they'd go back to the horse and buggy! Any jackass can tell you that -- or should I have said horse? Those were the days when some highways weren't paved --- and the car tires were twice as big. Smart man, that Henry Ford. He used common sense. Then the "Engineers" started making smaller tires and created more problems. The cars started getting stuck in the snow. And some geniuses said they'd take care of that, by using salt on the roads! ( Where the hell were our environmentalists "then" ?! ) Salt? Salt!! --- Where were they going to get salt??? -- No problem!!-- Just dig a quarter of a mile down, under Melvindale --- that's where!! Yeah but, weren't the people going to complain about all the noise when they had to dynamite the salt loose?! Hell, don't worry, the hick farmers aren't going to know what's going on! ( You have to remember now, this was well before World War Two. Those were the days when people didn't have too much sophistication. And "Activists" were people like Walter Reuther who'd get their heads busted standing up to the Establishment. Besides that, the common working-men were a bunch of "dumb-foreigners" --- what the hell do they have to bitch about --- they were lucky to get into the country! (like my old man!)

So, years later, Melvindale became a "City" --- and developers started building and selling homes there --- and people started moving in. Eleven twenty at night, just like clock-work --- boom, boom --- the salt-miners would dynamite-blast the salt, just before they changed shifts and would go home. "What the hell was that?"
"Hell, I don't know! -- Sounded like the furnace blew up -- go and see! Look around the neighborhood and see if any homes blew up."

Well, Melvindale got sophisticated! They got used to it.

Years later, the salt-mine got shut down. The employees priced themselves right out of work --- it went across the Detroit river, to Canada. That's how much territory the salt mine covers! --- And you know what, I miss that boom-boom noise. Not in a kindly way, mind you. Some people said good riddance. So you think you got rid of your headache? Huh! We went from the frying pan right into the fire.--- Now Uncle Sam is trying to snowball us kind folks in Melvindale into accepting plutonium-waste -- radiated-water from nuclear-reactors to be buried in the salt mine! Like hell, you say. Not in my back-yard --- or should I say under my house. Here go the Engineers again --- "Don't worry -- salt is a barrier to exposure, and besides, it'll be encased in leak-proof tanks --- and being that far down, there wont be much likelihood of it being exposed to water." ( Heh- Heh- Heh ) Hey, what the hell is this, Russia?? Haven't the voters got anything to say about it? Come on boys --- you know how politics works. How much clout have you got in Washington, anyway? Hell, Mayor Coogan's got a direct line to Congressman John Dingell --- and you know what a big man he is. Well --- maybe we better wait until Coogan and Dingell get out of office, then we can snow-job some new rookie that gets into office. Hey, good idea.

I started out talking about the Mayor being my barber and I got carried away. Someone may have thought I forgot what subject I was discussing, but that's the point I wanted to make. People have a tendency to forget what a Mayor has to go through to perform his job. They forget all the hell raising the Mayor had to do to safeguard his taxpayers. They think all the Mayor does is cut hair --- and some begrudge him for that because he's making a few extra dollars. How easily they forgot that when "the man"-- Thomas Coogan first ran for Mayor, that the City Mayor's salary was like a handful of peanuts being fed to an elephant. And now that the Mayor's salary has been raised, over the years --- which still, is nothing you can raise a family on --- some people say he's over paid! Hey, did we forget that one Mayor was in the home development and real-estate business, and the other was in the construction business --- both enjoying the influence of a Mayor's position for their own personal aggrandizement! I have never heard anyone tell me Mayor Coogan is a corrupt man, nor has he been accused of indulging in any unethical deals. To those who complain, or make innuendoes, leaves me to wonder how civic minded they are, and whether they've ever served their city on a voluntary basis. If they really got to know the man, as well as I've known him -- as my barber, and then Mayor -- they would find out he's quite a decent and capable man. Sure, he's Irish --- and a Catholic --- and some of you may spite him for that -- but I am neither of those, and as a Christian, I love the man because he's a good clean-living citizen. And I think, only in the United States can you have the honor of having a Mayor as your barber. God Bless America and the free enterprise system. Hey, Gorbachev -- you listening??----- Das Vedonia -----
Melvindale resident -- trying to get it on the map!

Sooren Simon Apkarian

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