Lights Out, Sparky 

The Deep End: Call goes out to replace Anderson with an A-hole at large.

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It’s really no mystery why all those people didn’t do anything the weekend of Aug. 25 about the dead guy in the car—he was slumped in the front seat in full view of other customers gassing up at a Sandy gas station—for 12 hours. Everyone thought he was Mayor Sparky Anderson.

The loathing of the controversial mayor is by now universal—in a recent poll, 100 percent of the electorate, with a plus-or-minus margin of error of zero, agreed with the statement “Mayor Sparky is a total asshole.” (A similar number of people agreed with the statement when other descriptions were substituted: Horse’s neck, pain in the butt, churl, weenie, dickhead and jerk.) For a weary citizenry, the election of a new mayor cannot come soon enough.

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Much as I concur with the assessment that Sparky is an asshole—hereinafter referenced, in accordance with community standards, as an “A-hole”—it is my considered opinion, as well as a team of experts assembled to study the situation, that our public life will be much the poorer without Sparky on the scene.

Consider the blandness of the current crop of candidates. They all seem to be Nice People, and each is explicitly running as an anti-Sparky. Not an A-hole in the bunch, though my favorite candidate, gastroenterologist J.P. Hughes, has a million jokes on the topic. But, whoever is elected, it won’t take long for people to start longing for Sparky’s restoration. They will soon realize how necessary it is for our authoritarian, don’t-rock-the-boat culture to have a resident A-hole making it hot for the plump and smug powers that be.

Around town, the cry will come: “Where’s Sparky now that we need him?” From Temple Square to Trolley Square, from Gateway to Gilgal Gardens, grieving citizens will break into spontaneous song: “Where have you gone, Sparky Anderson? A city turns its lonely heart to you. Woo-woo-woo.”

Given the A-hole gap that is certain to manifest itself upon the election of the next mayor, the victor would be well advised to appoint Sparky as “A-hole at Large.” The desirability of an A-hole at Large should be immediately obvious to rational observers, but there are certain to be those who will wonder why the A-hole at Large has to be Sparky. Surely, they will say, the world abounds with A-holes—any one of whom could be inserted into the position.

These people will point to several A-holes recently in the news. There’s bantam Bob Murray, the obnoxious egomaniacal mine owner who is an A-hole if ever there was one. And Larry Craig, another splendid exemplar of the art of A-holery, is now looking for work. (No one bought his story that his toe-tapping in the public toilet was an attempt to send a signal to miners trapped below the surface.)

Other out-of-work A-holes come to mind: Former Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld is available, having been kicked out of several assisted-living facilities for butting in line at the buffet table. Closer to home, there have been sightings around town of former Olympus Titan Karl Rove performing acts of random A-holery. Friends say that Rove is getting bored with tearing the final pages out of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows at the library and filling bottles of Rogaine with Nair at selected pharmacies.

Accomplished as these and other A-holes might be, none of them brings the panache to the exercise of A-holery as Sparky does. For one thing, Sparky has intelligence and integrity, unlike A-holes Rove and Rumsfeld. (The one lapse in Sparky’s integrity occurred during the Main Street Plaza fiasco when he inexplicitly flip-flopped and rolled over for the General Authorities. Perhaps the Brethren had incriminating photos, or perhaps Sparky was traumatized by the famous incident in which Presiding Bishop H. David Burton dangled him out of his window in the Church Office Building.)

Sparky is said to be considering several options upon leaving office. One TV station has offered Sparky a Get Gephardt kind of job, where he would harass fly-by-night companies to return money to suckers who have signed up for some obvious scam. And KUED Channel 7 is trying to develop a reality show in which Sparky roams the Wasatch Front snatching bottled water from bureaucrats, beautiful people and exercise buffs.

But Sparky needs more scope. We would all sleep better at night with Sparky out there battling against the Powers That Be and the Kingdom of Nice. Let Sparky be Sparky.

D.P. Sorensen writes satire for City Weekly.

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