Yeah, I know, that would be a ridiculously short column. Instead, let’s pretend this is what really happened.
Jan. 2: Republican Gov. Paul LePage makes grunting and snarling noises that political soothsayers interpret as meaning he intends to run for the U.S. Senate against independent incumbent Sen. Angus King. Shortly thereafter, LePage attempts to clarify the matter by issuing a press release. “GRUNT,” it says. “SNARL.”
Jan. 16: LePage announces he intends to veto the state budget for the next two years, even though it doesn’t yet exist. Asked for an explanation, the governor says, “SPUTTER.”
Feb. 8: Lots of people with no apparent qualifications are running for governor. Call it the LePage Effect.
Feb. 23: LePage vetoes the following items, none of which has actually been passed by the Legislature: the budget, solar-power rebates, money for public lands, the month of April, fidget spinners, dark-skinned immigrants, the state attorney general, retail marijuana sales, the budget again, dark-skinned tourists, the new season of “Black Mirror,” deposits on nips bottles, Medicaid expansion, people who look dark-skinned but just have excessive tans, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins and the budget a third time just for good measure.
Feb. 24: His work done, the governor departs for a Florida vacation, leaving behind a written message that appears to say, “GRRR.”
March 2: LePage’s political director says the governor is definitely not running for the Senate. But other sources say his wife, Ann, might, even though she has the qualifications of the average gubernatorial candidate.
March 9: Ann LePage says she’s definitely not running for the Senate, but her daughter Lauren might.
March 10: Lauren LePage says she’s definitely not running for the Senate, but her second cousin, Fitz Hubert “Bonzo” LePage, might.
March 11: Bonzo LePage’s nomination papers are rejected by the secretary of state on the grounds that he’s fictional.
March 23: LePage undergoes surgery to reduce his weight by removing a sizable portion of his mouth. His press secretary says that from now on the governor will only be able to mumble in lower-case letters.
April 1: The Maine Supreme Judicial Court denies a request for an injunction, thereby allowing LePage’s veto of this month to take effect. (The justices include a footnote stating that the date of their decision was not intended to be ironic.) The governor holds a news conference to announce what sounds like, “ha ha ha hoo,” but it’s hard to understand him with that little pie hole.
May 4: Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling, having read the book “The Small-Mouthed Vulgarian’s Guide to Diet and Exercise” by Paul LePage (with a foreword by Donald Trump), announces he’s abolishing the position of city manager and assuming those responsibilities himself. The City Council unanimously endorses increasing the dosage of Strimling’s medication.
June 7: LePage announces his plan to deal with Maine’s aging population by kidnapping young people from other states and forcing them to work in the hospitality industry.
June 15: After voters approve several citizen-initiated referendum questions, including one to restore the month of April, LePage returns from his book tour at the Trump hotel in Washington, D.C., to announce something about “*@#% these &^!$?*@ referendum questions.” GOP legislators agree to block implementation of the new laws unless they’re amended to remove all language that might require something actually be done.
June 22: A group called People United for Utterly Pointless Exercises in Democracy (PUUPED) vows to launch a referendum campaign to overturn both the governor’s intransigence and his weight-loss operation. In retaliation, LePage abolishes August.
July 20: It’s summer. Nothing happens.
Sept. 14: A nutritionist at the University of Maine discovers that Medicaid expands in inverse proportion to LePage’s waistline. Democrats chip in to buy the governor a gym membership. Republicans ship him a truckload of cheeseburgers.
Oct. 19: GOP Congressman Bruce Poliquin’s driver takes a wrong turn in Freeport and ends up in Durham, marking the first time in years Poliquin had actually visited the district he allegedly represents. He escapes without encountering a voter.
Nov. 2: LePage issues an executive order declaring the state will no longer plow roads leading to the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. This provides a sizable boost to the snowmobile industry.
Dec. 25: The Maine People’s Alliance launches a referendum campaign to have this date re-designated as Indigenous Religions Day. According to aides, LePage intended to fight this attack on Christmas by activating the National Guard, but because nobody can understand what he says, he instead activates the Maine Guides. They help direct visitors to the Katahdin monument.
Alternative realities for 2018 can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.