“Carlo wants to become a Buddhist.“
– The Mayor’s Blue Suit talking with Josh Resnek
By JOSH RESNEK
The Blue Suit met me outside the Central Fire Station Tuesday afternoon. I picked him up on the corner where the drugstore used to be diagonally across the front of the Central Station.
“Millions were just spent to fix up Central Station,” the Blue Suit said to me.
“So. I know that. What’s the big deal?” I asked.
“Think about it, Josh. Millions are put into modernizing the central station and making it safe. After all, firefighters are all about doing things exactly the right way. When all is said and done, the work is finally over but there is one thing missing,” the Blue Suit said to me.
“And what is that?” I asked him.
‘There’s no handicap accessibility.”
‘What!” I exclaimed. “How can the central fire station not have handicap accessibility? That’s like a hospital not having oxygen for patients. What is up with that?” I asked.
“That’s a good question. That’s what Carlo wants to know but he can’t say anything publicly because he can’t criticize the chief. That’s why I came down here to take a close-up look and then report to the mayor.
“Why didn’t he confront the fire chief?” I asked. ‘What’s he sending you for?”
Carlo doesn’t want to talk to Carli. He’s upset with him. They pretend to be OK, you know, like best of friends. But they aren’t. Carli can’t stand Carlo, but he does the dance for him because he wants to be left alone to do anything other than to be the fire chief,” the Blue Suit added.
“Carlo is busy. Carlo is in deep thought. He’s not thinking about the fire department or the chief. Carlo is trying to figure out a few things about himself and why he is the way he is.”
“What does that mean?” I asked the Blue Suit. “What is he trying to do with himself?”
“He feels that he needs to change,” the Blue Suit answered. “I’m kind of surprised but I think it is a religious thing. He’s searching”
“Searching for what?” I exclaimed. “He wants to be a Buddhist,” the Blue Suit blurted out. “Are you serious?” I asked. “Serious as a heart attack, Josh,” the Blue Suit replied.
The Blue Suit began an informational for Josh about how to become a Buddhist.
“There are five moral precepts which are prohibited for all those who wish to regard themselves as Buddhists. I’m not sure Carlo could be considered.”
The Blue Suit itemized the prohibitions.
“Killing living things is one,” said the Blue Suit.
“That’s all living things, bugs, rats, wolves, people, trees, worms, ants … that kind of stuff. I think the mayor would need to reform himself just a bit to accept all living things as sacred, as life itself.”
“The second moral precept that is forbidden is taking what is not given.”
“Oh. You mean like accepting a commission for the sale of the casino land to Steve Wynn?” I asked. “Things like are forbidden by the law not just by Buddhist law.”
“More or less,” the Blue Suit answered. “Carlo takes a lot of things that are not given. He demands to be given things all the time. He strikes out there big time.”
“The third prohibition to being a Buddhist is sexual misconduct. You can’t commit sexual misconduct and be a Buddhist.” “Look, Josh. I don’t want to hear about allegations against the mayor. You’re always accusing him of poor behavior toward women.”
“Hey buddy,” I cautioned the Blue Suit, “get off your high horse. I haven’t made up allegations against the mayor. I repeat what has been reported as part of the public record. If he was anywhere else but here he would have been run out of office and probably prosecuted years ago,” I added.
“The fourth precept that is prohibited is lying,” the Blue Suit said to me.
“Oh boy.” I took a deep breath.
“How do you think Carlo stacks up on that moral precept?” I asked.
We looked at one another. We laughed. We high-fived. We laughed harder. We got ourselves together.
“Lying is a harsh term,” the Blue Suit went on. “Does Carlo lie?” he asked me as though he was asking himself.
“Oh yes. Carlo lies. It is sometimes difficult to know what is the truth and what isn’t with him. Yes. He lies. He lies all the time. What’s worse is that he is aware of what separates his lies from the truth and yet he still lies.”
“The last precept prohibits the use of drugs or alcohol,” the Blue Suit told me.
“That’s another disqualification without question although I don’t believe Carlo is a big drinker or drugger – but he does like to have a good time. So, there you go Josh. Carlo wants to be a Buddhist but I don’t think he qualifies,” said the Blue Suit.
“Off the record, Josh. I heard him discussing Buddhism with one of his public relations people. They told him they thought it might be a good idea for him to be a Buddhist, that he might gain a lot of votes being so hip.”
The Blue Suit continued.
“He’s looked at Hinduism as well. He’s even spent some time thinking about turning Jewish but that would require him to learn how to read and write in Hebrew and he’s not about to do that.”
I thought about everything the Blue Suit had told me. I turned to him.
“You know that I know you’re lying to me,” I said to the Blue Suit.
“If you think for a second I believed you that Carlo wants to be a Buddhist then you need to get your suit examined.”
We shared a moment of silence.
“I thought you’d never call my bluff, Josh,” the Blue Suit said to me.
“You thought wrong. Carlo could never be a Buddhist, not unless he could make some money from doing so.”