In His Berwyn Mayoral Campaign Speech, Rich Koz Sincerely Apologizes to the People of Berwyn, by Michael CzyzniejewskiBy TNB Fiction
May 03, 2012
The first thing you to need realize is, nobody’s watching. I never said anything derogatory during the Super Bowl, a State of the Nation address, or a rerun of Friends. I’ve aired Saturdays, either 2 in the afternoon or 2 in the morning, not exactly prime time, and the folks watching TV then aren’t the kind of people you need to be image-conscious around. There are literally more of you here now than there are viewers, and that would be true if half of you left to go the bathroom. But enough with the excuses: This is an apology, so the exact number of people who heard you mercilessly mocked, week in and week out, for thirty years, is irrelevant. What’s important is that all of it is in good fun. People are laughing with you, not at you. Best of all, most of what I said isn’t true—not mostly. Besides: Who outside of Berwyn would even know what a Berwyn was if not for me? Imagine, all these years, that voice moaning, “Elk Grove Village” instead. Or “Shaumburg.” Or “Harvey.” “Minooka.” “Beecher.” Berwyn is on the map. Berwyn sings. Berwyn is where it’s at. How does any of this make me qualified to be your mayor? It doesn’t. But it reminds me of a story:
Once upon a time, three monsters walk into a bar: a mummy, a Frankenstein, and a creature from the black lagoon. They sit down and the bartender says, “What can I getcha?” The mummy, his face wrapped in bandages, can’t speak, so he wails and points at the whiskey, and the bartender pours him a shot. The Frankenstein, he can’t speak, either, so he grunts and waves his hand toward the beer taps, and the bartender pours him a cold one. Finally, the creature from the black lagoon, he could never speak, so the bartender pours him a glass of white wine and says, “So, Miss, what part of Berwyn did you grow up in?”
Thank you folks! And don’t forget: Vote Koz!
Michael Czyzniejewski is the author of two story collections, Elephants in Our Bedroom (Dzanc Books, 2009) and Chicago Stories: 40 Dramatic Fictions (Curbside Splendor, 2012), and a recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. After many years at Bowling Green State University serving as Editor of Mid-American Review, he is now Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Missouri State University.
Photo Credit: Jacob S. Knabb
Adapted from Chicago Stories: 40 Dramatic Fictions, by Michael Czyzniejewski. Copyright © 2012 by Michael Czyzniejewski. With the permission of the publisher, Curbside Splendor.