Cool head turned circus head

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H. Neal Glanville

I enjoy the spontaneous conversations I have with you, the readers, about these columns.

But, it’s often surprising when you walk up to me and start a conversation about something I’ve written, or take the time to comment on the newspaper’s website, like the gentleman who said, “You must have a three-ring circus in your head,” after reading my thoughts about the Moffat County Public Safety Center.

He went on to add that I obviously knew very little about the complicated and often confusing world of politics and perhaps I should stick to the “simple stories” of my youth and forget about “the big stuff.”

Well, he’s right about the circus wandering around the weak side of my brain, but in my defense, I’ve been involved in politics since 1960 something, when I ran for school president of the Utah Trade Technical Institute.

It all started in my drafting class when the candidates, all 11 of them, started marching through each class convincing us they were the best person for the job.

After one such visit, the instructor suggested our class should send forth another candidate to even out the voters’ choices.

We decided our platform would be absolutely nothing — we’d just see how many votes we could get by word of mouth and in-school advertising.

We then held a 90-second nomination thing-a-ma-jig and yours truly was the man of the minute. We went and formed Political Action Committees, of which I was no part, though I did get expelled for a day because “someone” sent a horseshoe-shaped bouquet of flowers to the guy that always wore a tie and V-necked sweater.

Inscribed inside the horseshoe was, “Always liked you, sorry for your loss.”

That little prank got the commercial art department on our side so we plastered the school with posters. We had all the vending machines filled with flyers so when you bought something a flyer would slide down with your soda or candy bar asking for your vote.

My personal favorite was a picture of an outhouse that simply stated, “Vote for Hal, he’s a cool head.”

Again we had no platform, promised nothing, and until Election Day, I gave no speeches.

As speech day approached, my geek-ness became even geekier. I’d never spoken before a crowd, and I knew I’d botch our plan of not having a plan and ruin the day.

The morning of the election, Uncle Blaine came to my rescue. He wrote something on a piece of a lunch sack, folded it, and told me not to read it until I was standing in front of the assembled school.

As each prospective school president went up and gave their speech, my fear of failure grew to the size of bigger than big, and when they called my name, I couldn’t move from my chair for fear of falling down on my way to the podium.

I inched my way up, looked down for anything that might trip me, opened Uncle Blaine’s speech, giggled a bit and then read it aloud.

“Hello, my name is H. Neal Glanville. If you’d like to vote for me, I’d appreciate it. If not, I can’t say that I blame you. Thank you.”

The student body went nuts with cheering and clapping, and the school director had to pull me from the podium, reminding me that others had to have their turn to speak. At the end of the day, the results were announced and I’d finished third, with seven votes separating me from the V-necked sweater guy, who was fifth or sixth.

So perhaps I do have a circus in my head. It sure helps when I write about politics.

Hey, you be careful out there.

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