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What's Dunn is surely done

Saturday, June 19, 1999

By Dennis Roddy

I have been trying for some weeks now to insinuate myself into the sanctum sanctorum of the Hon. Larry Dunn, public servant, Republican stalwart and sore loser, but for reasons he will not make clear, the great man declines to see me.

Dunn was, for years, the solitary pest control agent in a county frightfully infested with the species Democratus Liberalis. He voted against tax increases, for which I am grateful. He tortured Tom Foerster and Pete Flaherty, always a vast entertainment. He opposed public subscription for new sports stadiums, which greatly annoyed my employers but distracted them sufficiently to allow me to laze about the office like an overfed cat. How I shall prosper without this man I do not know.

Moments after his defeat last month, Dunn, unwilling to break his tradition of never rising above an occasion, took to the podium to denounce the Downtown establishment, his party and the lackeys of the media octopus.

Like good citizens, we sought out an explanation of how we had harmed him. He would not come near. Instead, he issued a dispatch that said, in part:

"[I]t has been a horrible three years, with the Downtown print media constantly distorting all of the positive things I have done," he said, disregarding the fact that the Downtown print media all but threw Foerster and Flaherty off a bridge to open the way for Dunn's ascendancy at the big monkey house on Grant Street.

Bad enough that these low-brow booze-hounds from the Downtown newspapers disfigured his record.

His dispatch included a grievance that bordered on the metaphysical:

"Then, this primary election brought the malicious character assassination by my opponent, not just distorting my accomplishment, but even my personal appearance."

Cazart! Someone has distorted Larry's appearance? He doesn't always look like that? They blinded us with political science!

It is always a painful thing to watch the disintegration of a perfectly mediocre man.

As jollier types broke ground yesterday for one of the stadiums around which Dunn's decline pivoted, he remained in his office, uninvited.

Such Republicans as could be exposed to direct sunlight fluttered around his primary opponent, a silver-haired man who sounds like Rhett Butler and cannot spell "Roddy" correctly. This had to hurt.

In recent days Dunn has given limited responses during the weekly commissioners' post-game show outside the luxurious Gold Room at the County Courthouse. But requests for a tete-a-tete concerning his views on the county's future, his plans for days to come, which of my colleagues he plans to shoot if martial law is declared before the year ends -- all go without reply.

So I must bid adieu to Larry without the congenial exit interview many another public man has managed in the face of rejection. Instead, we are left with fond memories of the man: schmoozing blue-haired ladies at committee gatherings; pumping the arms of middle-brow executives, his eyes darting about for some clue to their names; gripping, at the zenith of his career, the chairman's gavel as if he might, at any moment, deliver a mighty blow to his left thumb.

Au revoir, mon cheri. I shall always remember.



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