Thursday, January 07, 2010

Mr. Mayor, what we need is a Towne Fool

I've lived in the proud Town of Onionfield for six years now, and I'm surprised that the town believes it can get by without a Town Fool.

The Town Fool is a "figure of fun," a tradition that dates back to the time of Shakespeare. The Town Fool is usually a pitiful, dissolute personage, someone who is a sort of man/child, a buffoon, whom the town looks after. During festivals, the Town Fool is usually found at the center of activity, entertaining with pratfalls and inoffensive silly behavior. In the case of the Strawberry Festival Parade, the Town Fool would ride a float. In the grand tradition of buffoonery, the Town Fool would stand with his back to the assembled crowds, waving at the empty areas along the parade route, as though not intelligent enough to understand that he should be waving at the people.

Other duties of the Town Fool include bearing the brunt of the community in times of distress or dismaye. For instance, if one year the crop doesn't come in very well, the Town Fool would be flogged in front of City Hall. If severe weather pummeled the proud Town of Onionfield, the Town Fool might be paddled before City Council as symbolic punishment, or scapegoating of our bad luck.

In very rare times of very grim civic befallments, such as pestilence or plague, the Town Fool could be offered as a human sacrifice to appease the angry gods.

With the advent of the horseless carriage, the Twist and the Internet, so many of our grand traditions have gone by the wayside. I understand that this is "progress," but with progress there should also be room for hallowed, community-building traditions, such as the naming of a Town Fool before the the harvest.

I would like to come before Council sometime soon to deliver the names of some potential candidates for you to mull.

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