I just read in a recent poll that Anthony Weiner comes out ahead of our great city in likeability. It may be our proximity to one of the most dangerous cities in the world. It may be a misunderstanding of who we are as a community. Or it may be something much simpler, like our constantly being mistaken for George Bush. Who knows?
That's why, I suppose, El Paso's City Development Department has, um, developed (Which is what they do, I guess. Developing things, I mean.) a survey designed to help the powers-that-be gain a better understanding of our great city's local business climate.
I don't know how much money they spent sending these surveys out, but I'm sure they would have spent more, except that former Mayor John Cook, El Paso's first honorary gay mayor, needed the money from the petty cash drawer to pay the legal bills he incurred when he was sued by HBO for looking too much like the Cryptkeeper, the host of their horror anthology show Tales From The Crypt. It didn't help his cause when he took his guitar to court in lieu of a lawyer, and decided to sing La Macarena instead of pleading, "Innocent, your honor."
But I digress...
They sent the surveys to businesses such as Joe's Pawn Shop, Moe's Pawn Shop, and Ho's Pawn Shop (otherwise know as The Red Parrot, a communist topless bar for friends and fowls).
I got my hands on a copy of the survey.
Well, actually my twelve year-old daughter did. She was selling lemonade in front of our house on a recent hot summer day, when Denisse Rodarte, the EPCDD's program administrator known best for dotting her i's, crossing her t's, and adding an extra "s" to her first name, handed her a copy.
"Do you want any lemonade?" my young daughter asked, taking the survey with one hand and holding out a paper cup filled with something wet and sweet with the other. "It's an awfully hot day."
"No!" came Ms. Rodarte's curt reply, which, I'm sure, had nothing to do with her being a Ms.
Apparently, developing an understanding of El Paso's business climate doesn't include developing a desire to buy lemonade from a fellow El Pasoan, even if she is twelve years-old and cute as a button.
My daughter gave Denisse her brightest smile.
"Are you sure?" my daughter cooed, as sweetly as she could.
"Well, okay," the program administrator finally relented. Heck, she even smiled herself. "But you're going to have to bill the city for it."
I took the survey from my daughter and looked at it. In all, it was a total of ten questions.
What the heck, I thought, looking through the survey. I'll fill it out.
EL PASO'S BUSINESS CLIMATE
1) How would you describe El Paso's business climate?
I answered: Um... isn't it YOUR job to describe El Paso's business climate?
2) Maybe you misunderstood the question. Since El Paso is trying to improve its image, would you say that we have a positive business climate?
I would say yes, if, by positive, you mean broke.
3) You still don't get it. We're trying to improve our image here! Isn't there anything you can say that's positive about El Paso's business climate?
4) Let me put it another way: Drug Wars! Kidnappings! Robberies! Extortion! And that's just the politicians and law-enforcement agents across the border. Compared to all that, wouldn't you say that El Paso's business climate looks good in comparison?
Well, since you put it that way... no.
5) Okay, I'm giving you one last chance. Detroit! Bankrupt! What do you think about that?
I feel sorry for the people of Detroit, but don't you think David Bowie's "Panic In Detroit" is one of his best songs?.
6) Are you kidding me? Bowie's comeback is all well and good, but he's no Pepe Aguilar!
Who's Pepe Aguilar?
7) Hey, I'm asking the questions here. This survey is part of an initiative to help our city leaders gain a better understanding of our business climate, so that we can up with a game plan to properly promote El Paso as a vacation and relocating business destination.
Then I would suggest we find a way to promote ourselves as the great city we are, rather than try to make ourselves look good by making someone else look bad.
8) Okay, on a scale of one to ten, with ten being the highest, how would you rate El Paso's business climate?
I choose "c."
9) What are you, a wiseguy? Why, I outta...
Hey, I don't have to take that. Do you have a final question for me, or not?
10) Yes. Does this survey make me look fat?
No... your fat makes you look fat.