June 6, 2023

Secret Consultant’s Report Revealed


First there was a visit to the Mazatzal Testicle Festival south of Payson to interview some of the more impressive visitors. Next came a tip that a group of rich, white Arizonans had been caught smuggling themselves into Mexico to pick melons. Then word reached a Special Excentric Task Force that someone had squirted Mary Guaraldi, Canyon Moon Theatre’s Producing Director, with of all things, a squirt gun.

“Why?” is the burning question! And you, gentle readers, think that Excentric correspondents just sit around sipping Bombay gin martinis all day long?

But those newsworthy items pale when compared to the discovery of a secret consultant’s report which the City of Sedona refuses to release. Its principal conclusion:

“Sedona councilpersons, counselors, staffers and most of those who voted for them lack any sense of fun, playfulness or high spirits. Everyone is too serious and about as entertaining as a Taliban amusement park. Most lack the human impulse to be lighthearted and playful.”

Is that judgment too harsh, gentle readers?

Far from it, summed up the consultant whose name was given as T. R. For example, ancient Egyptians knew for sure that when a citizen passed on, the gods put the person’s heart in on a plate and placed it on a set of scales. On another plate of the scale, they placed a feather. “If the heart of the deceased weighed more than the feather,” he penned in the secret report, “he or she was denied admittance to heaven for only the lighthearted were deemed advanced enough to merit immortality. What are the odds of city officials making it to that higher plane, well, ipso facto?”

In a private interview with the multi-tasked Special Excentric Task Force, who had just returned to the border having tried to find some of the rich, white Arizonans who’d smuggled themselves across the border into Mexico to pick melons, the consultant said that after numerous interviews, the last one he conducted hit the ball right out of the park: “Sedona used to be a lot more fun. You have to work hard to have fun nowadays,” riposted the man seasoned locals call the Great Randoo.

The consultant observed that far too many people living in the paradise that is Sedona walk around with hang-dog looks on their faces. To him, this was the question: “Is it because they are too self-important to laugh at their own frequently ridiculous behavior–witness the shadow city council I’d discovered–or do they have an interest in looking so very serious because it supports their illusions of grandiosity?”

As a sign of the times, the creeping disease of seriousness at the expense of playfulness, the consultant noted that many newspapers have cut back on the funnies otherwise known as the comics. Time was it wasn’t always thus. Think of Mark Twain and Lewis Carroll, the electric Kool-Aid acid pranksters, Pippi Longstocking, Henry Miller and, yes, Bill Shakespeare whose plays contain more than 3,000 puns. One of this scrivener’s favorites is the famous Spanish poet who told the world, “If they give you ruled paper, write the other way.” Then there was Oscar Wilde who blurted in the cheap French hotel where he lay dying amidst cheap wallpaper, “Either it goes–or I go.”

Probably the man who defined playfulness better than anyone was Joseph Campbell, who is known in Sedona’s more esoteric New Age cellars as the author of “The Power of Myth.” To him, the word playful meant “the rapture of being alive.” Stories still come down to remind us of the famous abbott who’d squirt his minions with a water pistol if their meditative behavior became too serious. In Japan, people tell of the Ninja who surrounds himself with Disney memorabilia, like Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

What Sedona needs, summed up T.R., “is less conventional wisdom and more crazy wisdom–that wisdom which takes risks and refuses to dwell to the point of nausea on the possible legal liabilities of doing something not done before.” Not wanting to be seen speaking to a nosy scrivener, he departed from Troia’s Restaurant through the back door.

Why won’t the consultant reveal his real name? It’s been learned that Sedona city staffers, believing that an expert is someone who lives 50 miles away, don’t want it known that T.R. is a local.

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