Tales of Exceptional Mainers
There’s never been a President of the United States from Maine.
George Washington never slept here. As far as historians can determine, he never even took a day trip to the state.
And when you try to think of great innovations Maine has introduced to the rest of the nation, the only thing that comes to mind (other than Moxie and earmuffs) is Prohibition. If you didn’t know better, you might reasonably conclude that Maine is a state of also-rans (Hannibal Hamlin, the filming of “On Golden Pond,” the Maine Red Claws) and ne’er do wells (the inventor of the Electrocuting Rat Trap, that guy who’s in Guster, the state Democratic Party).
But those of us who truly know this state are well aware that’s not a true picture.
For instance, where’s the national college curling championship team from? Not New Hampshire. Not Massachusetts.
It’s from Maine, of course. The Bowdoin College team – formed only last fall, when a student who was heir to a broom factory came into his inheritance – took home the title in a sport the Associated Press described as “quirky,” probably because curling combines elements of shuffleboard, housecleaning, and cosmetology into a fast-paced event unsuitable for even the most obscure cable sports channels.
New Hampshire may have stolen the location of “On Golden Pond.” Andrew Johnson may have displaced Hannibal Hamlin as Lincoln’s veep. Guster’s new sound may be as bad as their old one. But no one can deny that Maine is a curling powerhouse. Even if most of the team’s members came from someplace else. And they listen to a lot of Guster.
Which is no indication this state is lacking in local talent. For proof, just pick up the June issue of Playboy magazine – it’s loaded with interesting and important articles on such intellectual topics as, according to its Google description, “Nude girls, hot girls, naked women and sexy pics with nude girls as well as videos of hot girls posing nude or in sexy positions …” – where you’ll find Mei-Ling Lam of Clinton (the town, not the ex-president) gracing the centerfold. This the first time somebody from Maine has ever been the centerfold in Playboy, although the late U.S. Sen. Ed Muskie did a fold-out for Playgirl, and current Gov. Paul LePage is scheduled to appear in his birthday suit in an x-ray in an upcoming issue of The Journal of the International Association for the Study of Diseases of the Brain Caused by Curling.
Lam is a former Miss Teen Maine USA and has done modeling for New Balance (naked feet) and Hasbro (naked Transformers). She told the Morning Sentinel she hopes the exposure in Playboy will enhance her modeling career and that she didn’t mind being nude in front of a whole bunch of people because, “I’m very comfortable in my own skin.”
Seems as if that would be a minimum requirement for the job.
Lam isn’t the only Mainer who was thrust into the national celebrity spotlight this past week. Although, she is the only one who did it with no clothes on. Let’s not forget about Ashley Hebert of Madawaska, who is to the ABC television show “The Bachelor” what the Maine Red Claws are to the NBA Development League:
But don’t feel too bad for Hebert (save that for the Red Claws, who really stink), because after she was put down on national TV by Brad Womack, she emerged from defeat to be chosen to star in the next season of ABC’s “The Bachelorette.” The show premieres on May 23, which is an easy date to remember, because it’s exactly ten days after the June issue of Playboy comes out.
Meanwhile, on CBS’s “Survivor: Redemption Island” (is that about a returnable bottle and can collection site?) Maine’s Ashley Underwood is either doing great (if you read the local press) or doesn’t rate a mention (on national Web sites), which may or may not be important. I have no idea, never having watched the show. I wouldn’t even be bringing it up now if I hadn’t been desperate for examples of Mainers succeeding in the real world. I’d have used Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Mark Rogers instead, except he was sent down to the minors this week, so what am I supposed to do? Produce a few enlightening paragraphs about some local municipal official who did something out of the ordinary?
Kenneth Dudley of Benton was re-elected as the town road commissioner on March 11. I admit that wouldn’t be all that unusual, considering that he was unopposed and had held the post for many years. But I think Dudley qualifies for mention in this posting on exceptional Mainers because at the time of his electoral victory, he’d been dead for a month. Benton voters seemed unfazed by Dudley’s departure from this mortal coil. They gave him a solid majority over two write-ins.
There’s a lesson here somewhere. Possibly, it’s that we should give Ed Muskie and Hannibal Hamlin another try.
That proposition is particularly timely in light of the considerable dissent generated by the actions of our current elected leaders in Augusta. This past week, hundreds of protesters showed up at the State House to oppose plans to cut funding for substance abuse programs. Among them was somebody carrying a sign that read, “Sober People Pay Taxes.”
You mean drunks don’t have to?
Where do I get my rebate form?
Al Diamon will be buying a round or two for the house, just as soon as his official state of Maine tax-exempt drunkard’s card arrives in the mail. It shouldn’t take long. He’s already submitted his blood test, his Breathalyzer analysis, and testimonials from two breweries and a distillery. If you want to get in on what promises to be a hell of a party, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.