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We've Got Baals, Yes We Do!

By Gloria Diaz

Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!

Fort Wayne Reader

2011-02-20


Fort Wayne is in the news again, thanks to a mayor with a chuckle-worthy name. The first time I remember Fort Wayne making the news was my eighth grade year. I was watching the Today show and they mentioned a big drug bust at Northrop, my future high school. Then, of course, there was the Flood of ’82, prompting relatives in Puerto Rico to call us to see if we were okay. Never mind the fact we lived two miles from the Saint Joe River, on a slight incline. Those pictures they showed on the news made it look like the whole city was underwater.

A few years ago, Men’s Health magazine labeled us the “Fattest City in America,” and the “Stupidest City in America,” or something like that. Now, our latest claim to fame is trying to name a building after a mayor who actually did something for the town. Except, his name was Harry Baals, and of course, we can’t let that happen.
We just can’t get a break, can we? Seems like when we make the news, it’s for something we should be ashamed of, although the Flood of ’82 wasn’t anything to be ashamed of. We can do something about being fat, we can do something about drugs, but can ANYTHING be done about the lack of a sense of humor on the part of city officials? The answer to that is a big, fat, NO.

The people have spoken. City residents are totally okay with the Harry Baals Government Center, so what’s the problem? We are already being roasted by late-night talk show wits, and British newspapers are having a field day with headlines like, “Fort Wayne Officials Refuse to Slap Harry Baals on Building.” You have to love British tabloids. Perhaps the British are proper and restrained everywhere else, but thankfully, those who are working in journalism across the pond throw taste to the wind and give the readers what they want. I’ve always thought journalism was a refuge for cynical rebels with sick senses of humor. The British tabloids prove it.

But something else is also being proven. Fort Wayne takes itself too damn seriously. A cool, intelligent city would jump on this bandwagon, come up with a Harry Baals Government Center logo, and plaster it on everything from coffee cups to underwear. But a visit to CafePress confirmed that some enterprising person has already done that. Way to go, whoever you are! People would visit Fort Wayne just to get their pictures taken in front of the building. Yet city officials are worried that late-night talk show hosts will make fun of us. Too late! Actually, they are making fun of the city officials who are in total freak-out mode. Listen up: the people have spoken. You are missing out on a prime marketing/tourist-drawing opportunity, and all because you can’t stand the thought of Fort Wayne, full of strip clubs and meth labs, yet proud of its so-called “family values,” being home to the Harry Baals Government Center.

And really, if this city were an actual human being, I’d picture it as a male, probably late 30s, overweight, slightly dumb-looking, and hairy all over. If Fort Wayne were a man, it would have hairy balls (and big ones) and be proud of the fact. So get over it, city officials. Relax, and have a good laugh like the rest of the world is doing. If cheap real estate and a low cost of living won’t lure the people, our lack of a sense of humor won’t either. Name it Harry Baals, and they will come.

Pun NOT intended.

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