NOW THAT’S FUNNY
As Libya joins the many nations of the Mideast that are experiencing waves of protests, speculation has grown about Muammar Gaddafi, Libya’s dictator for over 40 years. Will he be able to withstand the cries for democracy and reform in his country, or will he be forced to flee and live out his life in exile?
Although Gaddafi has been using his soldiers to create a brutal crackdown on protestors, that might not be enough to save him. Reports are that his own hold on power is shrinking as several important members of his government have turned their backs on him, refused to follow orders, or are openly supporting the protestors. A group of Libyan army officers has gone so far as to issue a statement urging fellow soldiers to "join the people" and help remove Gaddafi.
So, if he does flee, where will he go? Did you know he has a mansion in Englewood?
Yes, it’s true. The Libyan government bought the 25 room mansion in 1982. Libya wanted to use it as a diplomatic mansion, but U.S. officials balked at that, so it became a “summer retreat” for the U.N. Ambassador and visiting Libyan dignitaries. The Palisade Avenue home is known as “Thunder Rock”.
Resettling in Bergen County would be an adjustment for the dictator. First of all, we don’t name our houses. If we did, we wouldn’t use some ridiculous swagger that sounds like it was thought up by a seventh grade boy who has been listening to way too much Skynard.
Secondly, he’ll have to start to pay property taxes. After a long court battle, Libya was ruled exempt from paying taxes on that house since 1985. The back taxes alone would be over $1 million, and that would pay for a lot of charter schools. Once he takes up permanent residence in New Jersey, Gadhafi will be forced to start paying, and I just dare him to say no to Chris Christie.
Third, he’ll have to tone down his personal style. He can’t just strafe the people ahead of him in line at CVS, even if there is some lady paying with a personal check.
He’ll have to get a key chain to carry all of his store rewards cards. Bergen County is very expensive, and the only way you can make it around here is to shop with those rewards cards that rack up points and coupons. Will Gaddafi eat his free Shoprite Thanksgiving turkey, or will he donate it to his local food drive?
He will be shocked when he goes to fill his tank at the pump. Yes, that’s almost $4.00 a gallon, pal! What do you have to say about the cartel now?
Finally, though he may have avoided democracy in Libya, he will be a part of such a government here. He’ll have to attend school budget meetings so he can decide to vote yes or no on the budget. He will have to read the Letters to the Editor of the Town News so he’ll know which person to vote for on the Town Council, and why the pocket park is taking so long to get planted. Will he take a stab at fraud, voting over and over again as Quaddafi, Gadhafi, Gaddafi, Qaddafi, el-Qaddafi, etc.?
Of course, Gaddafi may never make it here. He has vowed to fight on and die like a martyr for his country, which I am sure would be fine with many people. Libya would then be able to turn the corner and start a whole new government, and that government will face many new challenges. One of its biggest: unloading that house in this market.
Pam Lobley writes the “Now That’s Funny” column. Sign up for her mailing list at www.pamlobley.com.