The Richmond State - A Fantasic Free Read Every Thursday

The Choice of a Weird Generation

By Paul Caputo and Jeffrey Carl

The Richmond State, or at least the closest I could find to it
The Richmond State, February 1 1996

The Richmond State was a plucky upstart alternative newspaper (not that kind of “alternative”) that challenged the editorial might of the stodgy Richmond Times-Dispatch beginning in 1994. It folded in 1996 and left so little of a legacy that there is a grand total of one search result for it in all of the Googles, which is a link to the Library of Congress where you can find which libraries have copies on microfiche. At the time, Paul Caputo and I thought this was our ticket to comedy stardom. We were exceptionally stupid.

Hi. We are Jeff and Paul … Tonight, on a very special episode of “Blossom.”


Paul was driving on the Powhite Parkway (“Like the Road to Hell, but With Tolls”) when a song by a band called “Sponge Monkeys” or something came on the radio. Simultaneously, miles away, Jeff, sitting in a meeting at work, suddenly reached without thinking to change the station, accidentally twisting off the nose of the person next to him. “Psychic connection” … or “total crap?” Perhaps. But think about this: “Medium heat for 15 minutes, then stir in frozen weasel extract. Serves twelve.” 

Wait … no, no, no. Don’t think about that. We meant think about this: Immediately afterwards, the same mysterious thought occured to both of them at exactly the same time.

This SUCKS, they thought. I hate work … wait a second!

We’ll run for MAYOR!

And so with that thought and this column, we, Jeff and Paul, Officially Announce Our Candidacy for the Mayorship of the City of Richmond. We would also like to announce that a new study reveals that improper use of rubber cement can cause hair loss or, in some cases, mild death.

Many of you are no doubt wondering, “But what do geese think about this?” Well, you people are sick.

The rest of you are probably wondering, “Why should I vote for two people when it’s only half the calories to vote for one?” or “Wouldn’t two mayors cause problems with easily-confused TV news reporters, who might not know whom to interview and end up talking to a chair?” Or even “What?”

These questions are all valid, albeit incoherent. But consider the benefits of having two mayors:

• Always on call: If one of us were sick and could not lead the city that day, the other one would always be there to say, “Who cares?” and get drunk.

• It would be like having your mayor “Super-Sized.”

• One of us could actually attend City Council meetings instead of (like some mayors we know) sending a life-size cardboard cut-out.

• We would almost certainly get to be in one of those “double your pleasure” chewing gum commercials with the really cute twins in green bathing suits.

We cannot fully explain our platform because 1.) there are bubbles in the Magic 8-Ball right now; and 2.) boy, are we making this up as we go along. But here for you – Good and Wise State Reader – is a sneak peek.

If elected, we promise the following immediate changes:

• We would officially change the spelling of “Richmond” to “Funky Tøwn,” although it would still be pronounced the same. “Henrico” would be spelled “Hönkyville,” but pronounced “Toad Suck, Arkansas.”

• “The Mosque” would be renamed “The Diamond.” “The Diamond” would be renamed “What The HELL Is That Thing With An Indian Stickin’ Out The Side?” 

• Monument Avenue, as a compromise, would feature a statue of Andre Agassi on a horse.

•To demonstrate how much our city RULES!, we would declare war on Amelia County and beat all of its inhabitants with hockey sticks. After the invasion, we would give out free “We Invaded Amelia! We RULE!” bumper stickers and T-Shirts to everyone in the city.

• We would eliminate the “four-by-four” versus “seven-period” school scheduling controversy by ignoring it completely. Students, instead of saying the Pledge of Allegiance, would recite the lyrics to “Stairway to Heaven.” Metal detectors in schools would be replaced with Snickers candy bar detectors. To improve saftey, we would then personally eat all the Snickers bars.

• We would hold a contest to decide what kind of facial hair Police Chief Jerry Oliver should have.

• The Baltimore Stallions of the “Canadian Football League” – currently (True Fact!) considering moving here – would officially be told to “Bite us.” We want nothing to do with any league that has an annual (True Fact!) Most “Valuable” “Canadian” Award.

• So that you don’t have to remember two long, expensive, time-consuming names, we would shorten “Jeff Carl” and “Paul Caputo” into one name, like “Puff Carpluto.”

• As mayors, we promise never to appear on local TV news commenting at length on “what a horrible tragedy this shooting was, or how awful that hurricane was, blah blah blah.” We know that actual news has NO PLACE in local television and it only interferes with the stories you really want to see, like the one about the surfing kitten, the Radical Lesbian Transvestite Chapter of “Jews for Jesus” or the 83-year-old nun who plays for the Renegades. Therefore, we promise to spend our entire tenure doing nothing but going to events with free food.

• Just for the heck of it, we would add to Monument Avenue a statue of Kermit the Frog. On horseback. With a tennis racket.

• Our City cabinet would comprise entirely newspaper columnists. For example, Dave Barry would be our Secretary of Booger Jokes. George Will would be our Official Long-Words-Talkin’-Guy. Ross Mackenzie of the Times-Dispatch would be our Footstool.

• VCU students with pierced noses would have them filled with Silly Putty. Anyone found in coffeeshops wearing black talking about angst (German for “fish?” We don’t know.) would be burned at the stake.

• To improve their disposition and efficiency, City Hall and DMV workers would be replaced by Cocker Spaniels.

• We would eliminate the City Meals Tax, Personal Property Tax, Thumb Tax, etc. We would make up the money by declaring a Civil War Reconstruction Tax, paid for by giving $800 speeding tickets to everybody who drove through town on I-95 with a Yankee license plate, claiming that “We need the money to fix all the damage you guys did the last time you were here.”

• To further establish our position as the Bitchin’-est City in the State, we would beat up Charlottesville and take its lunch money.

• City council decisions would all be decided by a game of Hungry Hungry Hippos, or possibly Twister. Council members would be required to take drugs so we could win.

• We would cut Richmond electric bills by sneaking over at night and plugging an enormous extension cord into Norfolk. If they complained, we would retaliate by claiming that they were trying to siphon the energy out of OUR appliances and INTO their walls. That’ll confuse ‘em.

• The Richmond Symphony would be forced at gunpoint to play nothing but “Def Leppard” songs.

• K-9 Police units would be equipped with Small Yipping Poodles, to make criminals giggle hysterically until they wet themselves and surrender.

• We would change the confusing street address numbering system in the city back (?) to the Dewey Decimal System.

• You, the Average Taxpayer, could always have an appoinment with the Mayor, as long as you brought the beer.

Best of all – we’re not kidding – if enough people send in contributions to The State earmarked for our campaign fund to pay for the filing fee, we will ACTUALLY REGISTER TO RUN FOR MAYOR! No jive! For real! Call the State and ask about it! Also, stop by and pick up your Amelia Invasion bumper sticker! 

And if we win, we will personally mow the lawn of everyone who sent us money.

Can anyone else promise that? Besides your yard guy, if he’s running, too.

And so we proudly proclaim some of our campaign slogans: “We’ll paint any car for just $99.95!” or “Vote for us or you’ll learn a new meaning of Pain as you are slowly digested in the Belly of the Great Sarlacc for a Thousand Years!” Or “Or whatever!”

© 1995 Puff Carpluto

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