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Three-ring circus

Dear Editor:

The Aspen mayor’s race is heating up with Mick Ireland, Andrew Kole and LJ Espamer throwing their hats in the ring. There is no doubt that the Aspen political scene is always a three-ring circus, so we might as well have our own master of ceremonies. If the tourists don’t show up and the second-home owners bolt for warmer climes, our mayor can always put on a top hat and bring in some lions and elephants for our next local’s parade.

The mayor’s race reminds me of when I lived in New York City’s Greenwich Village 36 years ago. NYC was in economic turmoil. We were reeling from a terrible stock market, and all the young people in the country were agitated about the Vietnam War. There was mayhem in the streets, and organized protests were rampant.

A colorful long-haired character, who called himself “Silver Bell,” lived in a converted bakery van that was always parked in the same spot on Sixth Avenue. The truck was covered with hundreds of “silver bells,” which clanged and chimed in the wind as he sat inside the panel truck and played the piano that was strapped to the metal sidewall of the vehicle.

Everyone on the block loved “Mr. Silver Bell.” We brought him food and drink and listened to him sing and play that piano for hours. However, one day a rookie cop showed up and issued him a ticket for vagrancy. We were all incensed and went to New York’s municipal court to support our nutty, lovable vagrant. The courtroom was in total chaos. People were screaming as Silver Bell walked up to address the judge. Silver Bell’s unkempt, unwashed hair was flying about, his eyes flashed wildly, and the judge said to him, “Young man, what do you have to say for yourself?” Crazy Silver Bell looked up at him in the middle of the courtroom madness, and softly replied, “Your Honor, I am running for mayor.” The judge looked around the courtroom and simply said, “From what I can see of this town, the job is definitely for you!”

Jerry Bovino

Aspen


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