Friday, June 02, 2006

Why Karl Longenbach Is Not a Northampton County Judge

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingHe trusted me. It was his sole mistake. But it cost Karl Longenbach a Northampton County judgeship.

Have you ever met Karl? He's about 9 feet tall and weighs about 100 lb. Physically, he's an Abe Lincoln minus the facial hair. If you ever have the pleasure of meeting him, you'll walk away impressed. Right now, he's Northampton County's Solicitor under Exec John Stoffa, who's 10 feet tall and weighs about 90 lb. Another Lincoln.

Me? I'm about 4 feet tall and weigh about 700 lb. unless I can ride my bike and run. Last year, I had a good thing going. I was able to commute by bike almost daily. Now I could give you all kinds of noble reasons for this -- peak oil, environment, fitness, blah, blah, blah. The simple truth is I love it. More about that later.

When Karl Longenbach asked me to work in his campaign, I envisaged late-night strategy sessions, speechwriting, and a few dirty tricks here and there. I immediately agreed. Finally, someone had recognized my abundant talents!

Then one day the call came. I rushed over to meet Karl, and was handed about 3,000 signs to plant. Having absolutely no mechanical ability, this presented a problem. First, I had to figure how to put flimsy plastic sleeves over wire hangars. I ruined about 1,000 signs doing that. Then I had to hammer them into the ground. There goes another 1,000 signs. Then I had to hammer them into the ground again whenever winds blew over 3 mph. I ruined nearly every sign he gave me when all was said and done.

But I kept one sign for my bike. I took some clothes hangars and managed to strap the sign to my back as I pedaled to work. On election day, I rode the main roads so that voters could see that Karl was both environmentally friendly and had nothing against fat guys on bikes. I tooled along, waving at the many admirers who blasted their horns. You may say they resented a cyclist clogging up the Lehigh Valley's arteries, but they were obviously signaling support.

Well, I made it to the courthouse, sweating from head to foot, and immediately changed. I hung my wet clothing discretely on my bike, right by the courthouse entrance, and placed this "Longenbach for Judge" sign in plain view on the side of my bike. Every person walking in or out of the courthouse would see it.

The courthouse was busy that day. There must have been a sale on dog licenses or something. But I was happy because I knew a lot of people must have seen Karl's sign. I was making a difference.

But throughout the day, I noticed people would snicker or give strange looks as I walked past. I had no idea why -- my zipper was up and I wasn't trailing toilet paper. Finally, at the end of the day, a female attorney asked me if I was wearing underwear. Huh?

I went outside and there was the underwear from my bike trip right next to Karl's sign. Apparently, I was not so discrete as I had thought. People would walk by, look at my underwear, then Karl's sign, and start laughing. The underwear campaign sign decoration later become the subject of a bar association luncheon, or so I'm told.

That night, Karl lost the election by a handful of votes. Karl did forgive me, but I had to promise to work for his opponent if he ever runs again.


JFB said...

Too funny!!!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Not For Karl!

Anonymous said...

Bernie, your a writing genius. Save this for your new book

LVDem said...

oh my God. I just wet myself.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Unfortunately, this is a true story. And the Mike O'Hare who wrote in is no relation. He's not my brother.

Gort said...

Boxers or briefs?

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, that gets me to thinking. Do you think you could do the same for Rick Santorum?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I already tried to offer my services to Santorum, but no one seems to know where he lives.

Anonymous said...

Great story!

Anonymous said...

Next time he should get some help from people who know how to motivate...teachers. I'm there for ya, Karl. I have only known you since we entered Central Bldg for 2nd grade. Why were we singled out to attend that school with 3rd graders in the same room? We were intelligent. Some things never change.
Run again and give me those signs. I've taught physics. I'll know what to do with them and reach the audience you need.

Karen L. P.

Anonymous said...

I'm so disappointed Karl lost. Next time ask for help from someone who can motivate people, for example...a teacher. I've taught physics so I'll know what to do with those signs.

I've known Karl since we entered the Central Building for second grade together. Why were we selected to attend school in a classroom with third graders? We were fast learners and intelligent. Some things never change. So, Karl, trust your signs to me next time. I'll reach a supportive audience.

Karen L. P.