My suggestion of the campaign slogan "Swimming Together Works" was rejected...
You got that right, mister.

In September 1999, the citizens of Knoxville, Tennessee had to make a crucial decision. No, it wasn't about whether or not to try the new cajun beef platter at the Sizzler...we had to elect a mayor to serve our beloved city. The incumbant mayor, the honorable Victor Ashe, was running for the office again for the umpteenth time.

Following a sincere and personal automated pre-recorded telephone message that I received from Mayor Ashe, I also received a personal invitation to make a special appearance at a campaign picnic for the mayor that was being held in my neighborhood... just down the road. To show my support for Mayor Ashe, and also to obtain a free meal, I accepted this invitation and prepared a brief speech for the occasion.

On the day of the picnic, the air was full of excitement and the sound of a bluegrass band playing one of my favorites, "Mama Was a Truck Drivin' Man." I walked over to the festivities just in time for the introductions that were being made.

"I thought there would be a clown. HEY, WHERE'S THE DAMN CLOWN?"

Thousands attended the festive event.


U.S. Congressman Jimmy Duncan (also known as The Walking Corpse) addresses the crowd. Mayor Victor Ashe is at far right in photo, grinning like a newborn monkey.

During some awe-inspiring words from a congressman, some city councilmen and various civic leaders, I took my cue and jumped up on the platform. Come to think of it, I don't think I actually had a cue. Anyway... I manuevered my way to the podium and addressed the crowd...

"Good afternoon, my fellow Americans, Mister Chairman, children of the corn, members of the Communist Party, people of Earth, and ladies of the cloth..."

On rare occasions, a man of true greatness comes along... a natural born leader who is destined to lead us, to right society's wrongs, to hear our voices crying out into the night, to end our suffering. A man of courage and integrity whose high Christian morals cannot be questioned...

Unfortunately, Warren G. Harding has been dead for over 75 years.

That leaves us with Victor Ashe. Yes, you heard me...Victor Ashe. Victor is a native Knoxvillian... a descendant of a proud family of hit and run drivers. He loves all of his fellow citizens... especially that guy over there at the lemonade table. Hey, buddy, I'm just kidding.

Victor once told me, 'Mark, being mayor of Knoxville is like being the star of a bowling team comprised solely of rabbits in the middle of a hurricane... you get to carry the pickles to the christening.'

Yeah, Victor doesn't make any sense sometimes and that's exactly the kind of man that has been successfully leading our city for the past 37 years. 37 years and hundreds of continuous road construction projects throughout our great city. I am proud to say that one has actually been completed. I kid you not. Victor's pet project... his 'baby'... the newly constructed express exit ramp adjacent to the entrance of the 'Porn 'o Plenty' Adult Boutique, near Victor's house, is now open.

As a little rich white boy growing up in the 50s, Victor was... hey, whoa! Is that the time? I gotta go... it's Teen Week on Jeopardy! OK, ladies and gentlemen... Mayor Victor Ashe. "

"GO! GO! GO! GO! GO! GO!..."

Amidst a polite smattering of applause and people trying to whistle with their mouths full, Mayor Ashe addresses his supporters and everyone else who showed up for the food.

In summary, Mayor Victor Ashe won a resounding reelection bid. I'd like to think that my appearance at the picnic had a lot to do with it, but his victory was no doubt due in part to these stunning campaign graphics.


The official portrait of the First Family of Knoxville, the Ashe family.



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