|The following fundraising letter was wholly unsuccessful during my
2000 bid for Harrisonburg City Council.
The Miami Herald
One Herald Plaza
Miami FL 33132-1693
I've decided to give you the opportunity to help finance my campaign for city councilman in a city you've never heard of, centered around an issue that doesn't affect you.
But wait! There's more.
In Harrisonburg, Va., several councilman/developers have decided to build a municipal golf course in the face of overwhelming public opposition. They are doing this in order to enhance the quality of life for citizens of Harrisonburg and give poor and minority children the opportunity to learn the character-building game of golf. They will cut down 6,000 trees to do this. They will borrow $6.4 million in bonds, with an $18 million payback. They maintain that going ahead in the face of public opposition is testimony to their willingness to make the tough decisions.
If you made it through that paragraph with a straight face, this letter was obviously sent in error.
I was reading “Sick Puppy” instead of writing a fund-raising letter when I decided to send this letter. (“I guess that means they’re not golfers.” Page 10.) I promise that I have no qualifications to be a city councilman in the traditional sense, and that I and my fellow reform candidates appear almost certain to lose. Support us and we won't be around to embarrass you after the election.
By the way, I worked with Rob in Petersburg 12 years ago. (That's Rob
Hiaasen, tall fellow, boyish grin, quoted Billy Joel.) He can confirm, if he remembers me, that I would be a disaster for the business community. Please send me some money. Everyone knows novelists make lots of money. You won't even miss it.
****Please stop reading here if you have already decided to send me money.****
If you do not send me money, I will sue you. In 1987, in Petersburg, a reporter covering a rape trial made an egregiously hilarious error, which Rob obviously remembered, and told to you, so that you could re-use it in “Lucky You.” Specifically, the question involved the pre-rape chastity of one of the many teen-agers victimized by a city councilman who was also the pastor of Petersburg’s largest Baptist church. The judge said “chaste” in a question, the reporter wrote “chased,” and I let it go through. (People do stupid things on afternoon paper deadlines; I can prove it.) Granted, some people might maintain the reporter had the copyright on this blunder, but I believe that as the person who let it slip into print, I have a greater claim to this gaffe, and therefore am more aggrieved by your blatant theft. Every time I think about “Lucky You” my heart rate increases and my carpal-tunnel syndrome worsens. A check to my campaign coffers would almost certainly start me on the path back to health.
Thank you for letting me practice on you. If this works, I’ll begin strong-arming developers next.
Joseph Gus Fitzgerald
Harrisonburg, Va. 22802