Vote Early, Vote Often


With Town Meeting coming up, and Town elections a week later, there’s a lot of chatter about the Articles that will appear on the Warrant. Which can be disorienting for a newcomer. Where I come from, an “article” is either a piece of clothing, or a piece of writing, or an insignificant word like “a” or “the” sprinkled throughout the English language as a means of confusing the Russians. And a “warrant” is what the cops are supposed to get before they search your drawers.

But now that I understand the Ipswich meaning of the terms, I’d like to point out that the school thing, important as it is, is not the only “Article” on the “Warrant.” There are other issues before us that nobody seems to be discussing — expressed in Articles I’ve recommended, and I trust they’ll appear on the Warrant as I’ve requested.

For example:

  • Regarding the official designation of the elected leaders formerly known as the Board of Selectmen

They voted to call themselves Selectpersons, but that’s just what other towns have done. Ipswich is unique, and I would hope that we could come up with a unique name for our lawmaking body. “Selectpersons” is not the only alternative.

  • “Selectcreatures” would work, except that it could be regarded as setting up an unhealthy “us and them” dynamic between the creatures and their Creator.
  • “Selecthumans” might solve this problem — “Selectbeings” is also a possibility — although either of these could be seen as unacceptably intolerant of lower life forms. And “Selectorganisms” could be hurtful to inanimate objects.
  • Likewise, “Selectmortals” discriminates against immortals, including angels, demons, and certain rock stars.
  • “Selectindividuals” is probably out because it’s potentially offensive to people with multiple personalities.
  • We could just call them “The Select,” unless this would be too easily mistaken for “The Elect” (a biblical term describing a group of people who could never be mistaken for our Board).

In any case, the question should be debated and voted on. We’re the ones who have to refer to these people, after all, in our letters to the editor and our rants on social media. We should get to name them ourselves. I think it’s important that Town leaders submit to the will of The People — er, uh, The Persons.

  • Regarding my suggested non-binding resolution about citizens’ queries at Monday-evening Select Board meetings

I’d like voters to choose between five options:

  • The querying citizen must sit in a special mechanized, spring-loaded chair. The longer the citizen talks, the more the spring tightens. When the citizen stops talking, sproinnnnng!— like the guy who gets shot out of a cannon at the circus. The longer you talk, the harder you splatter against the ceiling. This gives the querying citizen plenty of incentive to keep it brief.
  • The chair is still mechanized and spring-loaded like a pilot’s ejector seat, but instead of popping up when you stop querying, it’s like that Push & Pop game: You never know when it will go off. All you know is that the longer you talk, the worse it’s going to be. So you really, reallyhave incentive to keep it brief. This option has the advantage of cutting off many querying citizens mid-query.
  • Substitute a jolt of electricity for the spring. Not a deadly jolt, just enough to make your hair frizzy. Or, if it’s already frizzy, then frizzier.
  • Substitute a trap door. (Too cliché? Maybe.)
  • Put a soundproof Plexiglas booth over the chair. Make that an airtightsoundproof Plexiglas booth.
  • Regarding my oft-repeated request for a cash bar at Town Meeting

The only downside is that people who sell hip flasks will lose business. In fact, if this Article doesn’t pass, I’m going to set up a hip flask rental cart out front next time.



Doug Brendel lives on outer Linebrook Road, where he dreams of a few final minor improvements to an already practically-perfect Ipswich. Follow him by clicking “Follow.”



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