Helen Chappell - October 2006

Crown Me
Helen Chappell

     The elections are coming, and I hope you all will get out there and cast your vote.
      Actually, I am hoping you will vote for me. Yes, I have decided to enter the hustings. After much thought and meditation, I have decided to make the ultimate sacrifice of my time, personal life and career to answer the call of public service. In these troubled times, I’m prepared to throw my crown into the ring.
      Yes. I am announcing my campaign to become your Queen.
      Why? Because I’d make a great constitutional monarch.
      Because, as former president of the Talbot County Arts Council, I know how to do a grip-and-grin shot for the media. Yes, I can stand there with the best of them, shaking someone’s hand and giving them a check with a slightly self-conscious smile on my face. I enjoy Good Works. Queens should be dedicated to good works.
      Because I would look great cutting ribbons and doing groundbreakings. Queens know how to do these things.
      Because I’ve spent years watching the incumbents, and I know I can make an appearance at every chicken barbecue, crab feast and fireman’s parade, grinning and shaking hands and pretending I actually care about your petty peasant problems.
      Because I enjoy parades where I get to ride in the back of a convertible, doing the restrained-wrist royal wave. Think how much better I’d look doing this in a state carriage!
      Because I am not above paying for your vote with the hard candy I toss from the back of S.S. Lead Sled. For this alone, I have cornered the dentist vote.
      You should vote for me for Queen for Life because I have no direct heirs, and the heiresses I do have aren’t interested in the job, so when I’m gone, there will be no nasty power plays and coups d’etats or any of that bloodline mess such as you might find among professional pols around here.
      Last, and most importantly, you should vote for me for queen because I look great in a tiara and white gloves.
      Now you might be thinking to yourself: yeah, well, that’s all well and good, but what are you, putative Queen Helen, gonna do for me personally?
      I can answer safely that I can do no worse than others who have been voted into office. And, all things considered, that ought to be a plus.
      As your queen, I will, of course, make campaign promises. But I’ll be smart enough to make promises I can actually keep.
      I will issue a royal decree that in the summer there will be a chicken barbecue and a vegetable stand on every corner, so you don’t have to drive all that far to get lunch on Saturday.
      As your queen, I will issue a fiat exiling anyone who wants an upscale department store in this county. In fact, I have a long list of persons who will be exiled from my queendom. I am sure many of these people are also on your personal list. After I’m elected, we’ll talk.
      I will make local roads safe to drive once again. People who drive Hummers, fail to use their turn signals, tailgate and other Eastern Shore vehicular sins will be escorted to the Bay Bridge – never to return.
      Being a developer will become a capital offense. I will restore the ax and the block especially for these treasonous threats to the peace of my queendom. They should just feel lucky I’m not restoring the fine old practice of drawing and quartering. Your future queen is a tough old broad.
      As queen, I will declare holidays for all opening days of fish and game. Everyone takes them off anyway, so why not make it official?
      If the Orioles ever win the pennant, there will be a week of Mardi Gras and dancing in the streets.
      As your queen, I will declare more parades, free concerts and other fun public events. There will be free crab and oyster feasts for all. Fun is a big part of my royal platform, not to be confused with my executioner’s platform, which will probably also be fun for certain morbid curiosity seekers, and you know who you are.
      As your queen, I will do my best to make sure that every man, woman, child and some cats and dogs will always get a fair and even break. Life should be fair every once in a while.
      As your queen, I promise to establish a Bad Taste Squad. People tried and found to be inexcusably tacky by a jury of their peers, in dress, possessions or behavior will be sentenced to attend etiquette and conduct management classes. This is a big old plank in my platform. I see entirely too much trashy behavior around here polluting the landscape.
      As your queen, my throne room will be open to all. I seem to spend a lot of my time listening to other people’s problems anyway, so why not put me in a position where I can actually do something to help you?
      As your queen, I promise to be a home despot. I will not declare war on Delaware or Virginia or any other neighbor, like Pennsylvania, which is really tempting. My council and I will have to consider the New Jersey Question, based on the will of the people.
      As your queen, I will put the fun back in fundamentalism, be it political, religious or cultural. Someone needs to, after all.
      Finally, as your queen, I promise a crabcake on every plate.
      So, these are my reasons for royalty. I promise I won’t pull diva fits or rank. No one shall ever hear me say, “Do you know who I am?” I will continue my avowed personal goal of keeping a low profile and staying out of the line of fire.
      And you can bet I’ll ride in every parade, attend every rubber crabcake dinner and the opening of any and all events. All I need is time to grab my rhinestone tiara and I’m there, baby, rested and ready to be a figurehead of state.
      So won’t you please vote for me?
      My campaign slogan is “You can’t do any worse.”
Thank you.