The Key to America

Seriously, I should be the mayor. It just seems like so much work, putting together a campaign team, forming an inner circle amongst the campaign team, ejecting a few members of my inner circle for insubordination, and then eventually firing my whole staff and starting from scratch with a brand new campaign team. But I should totally do it. I’m born to lead. People have told me that. They’ve said, “Rob, you’re born to lead, bro.”

Mayor is perfect. It’s just enough responsibility where everyone in the city will know who I am, but at the end of the day, cities kind of run themselves, and so if anything goes terribly wrong, I can just throw up my hands in shock, claim ignorance, and step aside to let someone else take a crack at it. Why would anyone want to be President when they could just as easily be mayor? If the President starts acting all corrupt, the news media is always right there to point the finger and investigate. But the mayor is almost expected to be corrupt. Just say “City Hall” out loud to yourself and I’ll bet you’re automatically just a little bit queasier than you were before you said it.

Mayor is the one job that I feel like I’m naturally perfect for. I’m already the best at everything that the mayor does. Whenever there is an injustice that’s really nobody’s fault, like if somebody trips and falls, or if somebody sees a rat run past a restaurant, I’m usually the first person on the scene getting in everyone’s faces and pointing out the injustice and bringing a lot of attention to what just happened. And if there is ever an injustice that’s clearly somebody’s fault, I’m an expert at making up a million reasons why it’s actually nobody’s fault. Plus, you’ve never seen somebody christen a dry-cleaning place by cutting a giant ribbon with an oversized pair of scissors until you’ve seen me do it.

One of the job’s most alluring aspects, to me, is the ability to bestow upon anybody the Key to the City. Every knows about the Key to the City, but the process of making it, of figuring out how to get it to unlock every door in town, and actually picking somebody worthy of receiving it is a closely-guarded municipal secret. Try calling up any public official and asking him or her about how you might go about earning a Key to the City and you’ll find yourself brushed off. After repeated calls, you’ll find your phone being automatically transferred to a seemingly indefinite hold, without anybody even asking what you’re calling for in the first place. So then you’ll head over to City Hall and try to talk to somebody face-to-face, but when you ask who’s in charge of the Keys to the City, you’re told repeatedly to go away. Go ahead, bang your fists down on as many government desks as you want. I’m telling you it’s a dead end.

As mayor, I would promise to make the Key to the City award system much more transparent. That would be the sole issue that my campaign would be built upon. I’d hand out novelty replica Keys at all of my campaign rallies. During my debate with the incumbent mayor, I’d throw in all sort of cool key-related catch phrases, like, “Mr. Mayor, we’re all really keyed up about this issue!” to huge rounds of applause. At my inauguration as mayor, I’d make a grand speech, telling everyone how, “now we’ve got someone in charge who understand the key problems facing this city!”

That’s what I would tell everyone. But I’d secretly use my power over the Keys to the City for my own personal advantage. After I made such a big deal about the Key to the City during my campaign, people might get a little confused when I stop awarding the Keys all together. If people protest, I’ll just tell them that the system was so corrupt, that I’ve had to scrap the entire program, to be rebuilt entirely from scratch, from the ground up. And I think that might satisfy the minds of most voters.

But I wouldn’t have scrapped anything. Not really. The Keys to the City will still be made, but I’ll award them all to myself, in secret yet still elaborate Key ceremonies. Once I’ve collected enough Keys, I’ll start touring other cities, pointing my finger at all of the other mayors, claiming that their Key to the City systems are some of the most corrupt in the country. But I won’t actually do it, I’ll just threaten to do it. I’ll meet all of the other mayors and I’ll show them all of my Keys and they’ll know that I mean business. If they don’t want to get run out of office, they had better award me a Key to their city also.

And they’ll back down immediately. So week after week, some other loser mayor from some other rinky-dink town will fly me in to receive their Key. They’ll say, “We’re awarding this Key to the mayor who ushered in the reforms necessary to keep the Key ceremony alive in the 21st century!” And I’ll act all humble and grateful, but while I’m collecting one Key, I’ll have my political cronies already strong-arming the next mayor.

Finally, I’ll have all of the Keys to every city in America. And I’ll take them all and put them on a giant Key ring and I’ll bring them to the White House, where I’ll demand that the President give me the Key to America. “You have to!” I’ll say, “I’ve collected every Key to every city!” and the President will respond, “How could you have? How did you know about the Key to America? Nobody knows about that!” and I’ll say, “Aha! I knew it! I didn’t actually know about the Key to America, I had just imagined it. But I said it to you like I knew what I was talking about, and you just confirmed it! So hand it over!”

And the President will be honor bound by to hand it over. And I’ll be able to unlock every single door in America. What’s that you hear? Is someone in the house? Yeah, it’s me. And yeah, I know perfectly well what time it is. Don’t worry, I’m just making myself a roast beef sandwich. Chill out, there’s nothing you can do about it. Just be lucky that I’m not a huge dick looking to rob this place blind, because I could. That’s how this works.

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