“I feel so powerful. I’ll walk into that audience. I’ll walk in there, I’ll kiss everyone in that audience. I’ll kiss the guys, and the beautiful women, and everybody. I’ll just give ya a big, fat kiss.” — Donald Trump, bragging about his immunity to COVID-19 at a recent rally.
It has come to my attention that many of you have been comparing me to our current president, Donald Trump. Some of you are still mad about the shark-related tragedies that took place on our shores 50 years ago, and as a result, you feel it is appropriate to equate my response to that of Trump’s response to the pandemic. Perhaps some of you think this is cutting political commentary. Perhaps others of you simply enjoy rubbing salt in the wound of one man’s greatest regret.
I have tried to let this go for the sake of public unity. I know tensions are high, and we all have to blow off steam, especially since the Amity Island Annual No-Sharks-Ever Clam Steamin’ Jamboree has been canceled this year. But I am officially begging you all to give me a break.
I understand that many of you were frustrated that our original actions against the shark were not more decisive. I feel it’s only fair to point out that sharks usually don’t even come this far inland, and when they do, it’s to eat seals and other small mammals, as dictated by their role in the ocean’s complex and beautiful ecosystem. Shark bites are accidents, and unlike COVID-19, rarely fatal. Unlike some bearded nutjobs in this town, I don’t assume every shark I see is vengefully hunting down human beings like some kind of bloodthirsty aquatic Rambo.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump received dozens of credible warnings from international experts and our own intelligence explaining what COVID-19 is, and the dizzying tolls of death and human misery it left in its wake. If I were confronted by a group of experts from the World Health Organization to warn me about the thousands of easily-avoided shark-related deaths on the horizon, I would have heard them out. We would have at least canceled a barbeque, for god’s sake.
Many of you have tried to place similar blame on me for not initially listening to the experts, but let me remind you that our “experts” in this situation were an obnoxious trust-fund kid that openly insulted all of you immediately upon his arrival; a chief of police that moved to our island despite a fear of the ocean, which he definitely did not disclose in his interview; and a fisherman with shark-related PTSD who crashed a city council meeting, attempted to extort tens of thousands of dollars from the town treasury, and ruined a perfectly good chalkboard.
Do you have any idea what this town would look like if we gave in to the policy demands of every grizzled fisherman with an ax to grind against a shark? We just don’t have that kind of money, people! What do you think this is, Nantucket?
And yet, unlike President Trump, I did my best to collaborate with these experts and balance their assertions with the town’s needs. I was not always able to do this perfectly. For example, when your hometown hero, Chief Brody, begged me to disembowel a dead shark to search for a victim’s partially-digested remains in front of his grieving family, I did feel like maybe it was time to take a quick beat and reassess our approach. But I gave all involved the benefit of the doubt, and complied with his request to protect the beaches on our biggest tourism day of the year.
He requested multiple helicopters, by the way. Amity Beach is about a mile wide. Do you know how much helicopter fuel costs? A lot more than you make at a clam steamin’ jamboree, I’ll tell you that much. Not that any of you have ever had to balance a city budget.
Sadly, all of our efforts were in vain when tragedy struck. Another shark attack happened on our beaches, and this time my own child was nearly one of those lost. The instant I realized the threat was real, I paid our police chief and his shark-hating friends to do what needed to be done. And now Amity Island has the Guinness World Record for Most Sharks Killed By Vigilante Justice!
Which I suppose is something to be proud of, as a mayor. Frankly, I will take what I can get at this point in my career.
That’s the difference between myself and our sitting president: it took me far too long to act, but at least realized I was wrong when the crisis affected me, and I did everything I could to make it right. Meanwhile, we now have evidence that Trump was fully aware of how dangerous COVID-19 was and spent months lying about it anyway. When he finally contracted COVID-19 at a White House event, some of us hoped this would force him to face reality. Instead, he has doubled down on ignoring COVID-19, claiming the virus has only made him more powerful somehow. He’s already back on the campaign trail, holding massive superspreader rallies, ordering Americans to join him in not caring about the disease, and even offering to kiss people on the mouth.
In the end, our killer shark killed five Amity Islanders. And sure, maybe we had a few attacks on my watch, but I stopped them in the end. Donald Trump has been happily feeding thousands of Americans to sharks for about six months now. It’s clear that nothing is going to change him, not even getting bitten himself.
So, please stop comparing me to Donald Trump. Stop sending overly-long red ties to my office, stop asking me how Melania is when you see me at the grocery store, and stop asking me if you’re allowed to stop by the mayor’s house and “rock a piss in a solid gold toilet.” I deserve better. From the tip of my wingtips to the shoulders of my jaunty nautical blazer to the top of my sea salt-teased pompadour, I am more of a leader than Trump ever will be.