“There will be those who continue to bring that up and those who will forgive the use of a pen name,” Winder said of articles he wrote for the Deseret News and other publications under the pseudonym Richard Burwash. —The Salt Lake Tribune, January 19, 2012
The very first person who has stepped forward to forgive West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder is the multitalented Richard Burwash himself. Mr. Burwash sat down with the Deep End in an exclusive interview to talk about his decision to support Mr. Winder’s run for Salt Lake County mayor.
Deep End: First of all, let us say how much we appreciate you taking time off from your extremely busy schedule to speak with us.
Burwash: Well, I’ve just got a few minutes, and if you don’t mind, I’ll finish my sandwich and glass of milk while we talk. It’s been quite a day—just this morning, I turned down the offer to become president of the University of Utah, and after this interview, I’ve got to rush off to take over as basketball coach for the U.
D.E.: We know you’ll turn the program around. Our readers, as you know, want to get the inside scoop on your reconciliation with Mr. Winder and why you think he ought to be mayor of Salt Lake County.
Burwash: There were some hurt feelings on both sides after the breakup. I felt Mike didn’t give me enough credit for writing all those puff pieces about West Valley City, and I guess Mike was ticked at me for moving on with my life and pursuing my own dreams, which, as you are well aware, have been fulfilled in a manner far beyond even the wildest dreams of Mr. Winder himself.
D.E.: Congratulations on your recent Golden Globe Award for your quirky character portrayal in West Valley CSI.
Burwash: I sat with Brad and Angelina at the ceremony, and already she wants me to play her heavily tattooed milkman in a remake of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, set on a rural dairy farm.
D.E.: Sounds like a winder. Can you walk us through the events that led to your coming back here to mastermind the Winder campaign for Salt Lake County mayor?
Burwash: I can even run you through the events, if you’d like. I remember relaxing in my tent in the rugged mountain terrain of Afghanistan, just after I had single-handedly killed Osama Bin Laden (I suffocated him by pinching his nostrils shut—the biggest nostrils I’ve ever encountered, by the way). A fellow soldier, all out of breath from the steep climb, handed me a DVD that had been sent all the way from West Valley City weeks earlier. I immediately stuck it into Bin Laden’s confiscated DVD player, and lo and behold, there’s my old bosom buddy Mike Winder serenading me with “I Got You Babe,” except he substituted “I Got You, Burwash.” And what a singer! He’s even better than Sonny. Or Cher.
D.E.: It must have touched your heartstrings.
Burwash: It brought a tear to my eye. Especially when he sang, “I got you to be my friend/ I got you to hold my pen/ And when I’m sad, you rub my feet/ And if I get scared, you send me a Twee—ee—ee—eet. I got Burwash, I got Burwash.”
D.E.: Did that turn the tide?
Burwash: Pretty much. I immediately sent him a DVD with a version of a song by Bob Dylan—I wrote about 90 percent of his songs, by the way—called “I’ll Be Your Burwash, Tonight.”
D.E.: So everything is hunky-dory between you and Mike?
Burwash: Couldn’t be better. It was me who encouraged Mike to run for Salt Lake County mayor. I’ll be out there with him every step of the way. You’ve heard of “Me and My Shadow”? Well, for Mike it will be “Me and My Burwash.”
D.E.: But won’t you have to put all your many projects and enterprises on hold? Burwash: I’m not giving everything up. I’ll continue to do Mit Romney’s taxes. By the way, don’t tell anyone, but the reason he won’t release his tax returns is that he gives more money to the Mormon church in tithing than he does to the U. S. government in taxes, and that won’t go over real big with the voters.
D.E.: We’re impressed by your loyalty to Mike Winder.
Burwash: Hey, listen. I owe my very existence to him.
D.P. Sorensen writes a satire column for City Weekly.