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Only one man can wake SLC from its Becker-induced stupor.


You may have caught glimpses of him around town, at odd hours of the day or night, a lonely figure haunting the fields of his former glory. Now a private citizen, he was once the most recognized and public man in all the precincts of Zion, a man of many causes, a fierce fighter for truth, justice and the American Way, a thorn in the side of the Mormon Church, anathema to the Republican Brethren on Capitol Hill, an indefatigable nuisance, and an all-around world-class, state-of-the-art pain in the ass.

We knew him. We celebrated him. We loved him. You know who I’m talking about. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you, after all these years, the one and only Mayor Ross “Sparky” Anderson.

Since he’s been gone, a bland and deadly dullness has settled over our city, worse than any respiratory-ravaging weather inversion. Where once you could count on some mischief eight days a week from Mayor Sparky, now our city dozes around the clock under the soporific reign of Sleepyhead Ralph. (It has been reported that Mayor Becker nods off during meetings, though my question would be, how can you tell?)

Concerned and serious-minded citizens have been sorely disappointed in the administration of good old Sleepyhead, pointing to how he has dropped the ball on several of Sparky’s initiatives, including environmental issues and youth programs. Sparky loyalists were horrified when Sleepyhead wanted to build police headquarters right next door to the library, and they were outraged when Sleepyhead took a nap instead of putting the kibosh on gasoline-powered golf carts.

Now, a movement is afoot to restore Sparky to his former glory in City Hall. All around town, small cells of Sparkyites are holding meetings in dark rooms, entry to which is granted only by whispered passwords. Once inside, safely divested of their pants, in honor of Sparky’s preferred mode of attire—Sparky, you remember, famously fired his pants in one of his frequent purges of city personnel—the conspirators fervently proclaim their allegiance to the once and future mayor and plot his return to the seat of power.

There is a sense of urgency in their mission, but at times their passion hangs limp, much like the orange pedestrian flags leaning listlessly at crosswalks, yearning with every fiber of their being for Sparky to snatch their sticks and hoist them high, dashing into traffic to do battle with the metal monsters of the road. But loyalists rally their spirits by showing old videos of Sparky jousting with his legion of enemies, whether mechanical, economical or ideological.

Once in a while, an excited acolyte will bring reports of Sparky sightings—he was spotted on South Temple waving his orange flags at speeding SUVs like some demented drum major; he was spotted leaping on the hood, screaming, “You idiot!” and pounding on the windshield of a distracted driver who had failed to come to a complete stop at a pedestrian crossing on 900 South; he was spotted on the 14th fairway at Rose Park Golf Course absconding with the Titleist of a golfer who had opted for a gasoline-powered cart instead of strolling the links sans pants in the summer sunshine.

The most uncompromising among the Sparkyites do not want to wait for the next election; instead, they are demanding an immediate coup d’état. They’d like to see Sparky ambush Sleepyhead as he pedals toward City Hall, commandeering his bicycle and riding into Washington Square in triumph.

There are those who will never forgive Sparky for his flirtation with “Mit” Romney during those intoxicating days of Olympic fever, and a sizeable portion of the populace is still resentful over Sparky’s capitulation to the General Authorities’ purchase of Main Street. Those diehards wish Presiding Bishop H. David Burton had let Sparky go when he dangled the squealing mayor out his window from the 23rd floor of the Church Office Building.

But, the groundswell is building. Even Sparky’s pants have forgiven him; in fact, the pants (a nice pair of chinos) have joined the growing chorus of citizens who desperately long for Sparky’s return. They can be heard some evenings under Sparky’s window, serenading him with the oldie but goody, “Sparky, Come Back”:

“Sparky come back, any kind of fool could see/ There was something in everything about you/ Sparky come back, you can blame it all on me/ We were wrong, and we just can’t live without you.”

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