Monday, February 6, 2012

Illinois Review: Little Pavel Helps Out

By John F. Di Leo  on 7/11/10

At 10:00am Monday, a new face knocked on the door at party headquarters.  A pleasant face, young, male, and clean-shaven, maybe about 16 or 17.  You always welcome new volunteers, of course, but you don’t necessarily like them to just show up, unannounced and unintroduced, when they’re this young.  You like… references.  A lot goes on at party headquarters – a lot of private conversations, a lot of secret dealings.  You don’t want spies in the place.
So it was, understandably, with a bit less than total exuberance that the committeeman, Bill Marcy, sent his associate, Pockets, to get the door and welcome in the new kid.
“What kin we do for ya?” asked Pockets, as cheerfully as he could fake.
“I’m here to help out.  My parents said I was old enough to make myself useful to the party.  Stuff fundraising letters, address envelopes, fold and collate… whatever you need!”

“Do we, uh, know your parents?” Bill asked.
“Probably,” replied the lad.  “I’m Paul Syerov.  Pavel, actually, after my dad, but I just go by Paul.  My folks are Pavel and Sonia Syerov.”
Pockets whispered to his Boss, “I remember them… big in one of the local unions… they were both shop stewards, I think.” 
Bill Marcy brightened as it clicked.  “Then we can trust him.  All is well, Pockets, all is well.”  To the boy he asked “So whaddaya wanna do today?  We got precincts to walk, if you’re up to a little exercise.”
“Sure, if it’s close enough that I won’t get lost.” 
“Don’t worry, son, we’ve got maps, marked pollsheets, everything we need.  We know every resident, who’s registered and who’s not, and why… we know who votes early and who votes late…. And we need to know even more. That’s the current project.”
Little Pavel was confused.  “I figured you’d just have me do stuff envelopes in the office when I was starting out.  You’ll trust me to walk precincts?  You don’t even know me!”
“Don’t need to.  You’re a son of Pavel and Sonia Syerov?  You may as well be the offspring of George Meany and Gloria Steinem.  You come from good stock, son.  We trust you.”
Pockets approached, carrying a bag of brochures (with the catchy headline “Raising Taxes and Raising Hopes”) along with a hefty clipboard.  “Go to every door, noting the exact time and day of the week you hit that door.  Hand them this brochure, and ask them a few questions.  Easy.  It’s all on your script here.  And just mark the answers in this checklist… see, there’s one checklist for every resident.”
“So much for saving trees, huh?” chuckled Pavel.
“Look here,” grumbled the boss, “if we could afford to pass out laptops or iPads to our volunteers to save trees like the rich Republicans can, we would.  But we’re the people’s party; we don’t have that kinda money.  It’s just old-fashioned, tried-and-true questionnaires for us.  It’s worked for a hundred years; there’s nothing wrong with it.”
Pavel grinned.  “Hey, I was just kidding.  I love paper.  It keeps Wisconsin paper mills in business.”  Almost forgetting himself, he quickly added “And they’re union, too, after all!” read the whole piece

Illinois Review: Little Pavel Helps Out

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