Sports talk radio is not necessarily an abundant source of wisdom, but while listening to some of my favorite Red Sox pundits on the way home the other day, I heard the following gem: "The best way to have the last word is to say you're sorry." The quote was in relation to David "Big Papi" Ortiz and his current troubles, but my thoughts shot directly to our local government seat at 59 Town Hall Square, where Ortiz' offensive and pharmaceutical struggles look like a pesky hangnail compared to the mortal wounds from shark bite behavior bleeding confidence and trust in our leaders lately.
Looking at the letters to the editor and lending an ear to the coffee shop prognosticators of late, it appears that stock in our local government is near an all-time low. The reasons for this crisis of confidence are many, but all paths on this journey lead to the crescent-shaped table in the corner conference room, so as a focus-on-the-solution sort of guy, I'll simply offer my sports talk radio solution to this current conundrum: Why not say you're sorry, and have the last word?
The question becomes, then, to whom is the advice directed? The answer is as simple and as beautiful as a glimmering Old Silver sunset: all of ‘em.
None of us behaves perfectly. Our Selectmen are "us," and each has contributed to the current downer dynamic, so why not simply admit to your part of the problem, Ahmed, Brent, Carey, Melissa and Pat, and create a new, cooperative dynamic that we can admire and emulate? It really is that easy. I know, because I've done it myself.
During a sometimes bumpy, sometimes grumpy, and always thought-provoking ride through a twelve-year tenure as a Selectman, I created many opportunities to apologize, and, truth be told, many times I did not, probably for many of the same reasons that some of our fab five are holding their ground and wearing out the casters on their chairs with their efforts to distance themselves from each other. I can admit now (and have to many a Falmouthite), with a few years of distance between me and the office, that I at times felt that the town and its people owed me something for the hard work and dedication I showed (not to mention that I was a great one for insisting that I was always right). I know now that it was my privilege to serve and that no one owes me a thing. Are you listening, Ahmed?
Despite what any individual Selectman may feel about the current state of affairs, the behavior exhibited every Monday night has an impact on our local mood, and on how our citizens view the quality of local leadership. If a Selectman bemoans the sorry state of affairs on the Board, the public inevitably will get caught up in that toxic storm water swirling down the drain. Do you see that, Brent?
They say that familiarity breeds contempt. Boy did that become a two-way prophecy for me. After four terms, I had had enough, and it became obvious with the results at the ballot box that the people had sure had enough of me. Part of the contempt, though, certainly came from my inability to own any of my mistakes and misstatements and move on. Is their wisdom in that lesson, Carey?
No matter what happened on the campaign trail, the honor of serving presents an opportunity to cooperate and collaborate in the interest of all citizens. I'm sure you get that, Melissa.
The buck, the gavel, and probably the mood ring stop on the desk of the Chairman. She who holds the gavel sets the tone. You have an opportunity to start this ball rolling, Pat.
Here's another gem I heard from the sage pundits of sports talk radio: It's never too late to start your day over. Every day, the sun rises over Washburn's Islands and sets on Buzzards Bay. In between are plenty of opportunities to shed the cloak of negativity from the events of the day and begin anew with enthusiasm - and to apologize for our mistakes and have the last word. We'll see if anyone in the corner conference room is listening.
Thiscolumn is reprinted from the Falmouth Enterprise.