EL PASO – The Texas Blind Salamander, an endangered species getting closer to oblivion because of the drought that descended on our state, appears to be alive, well and indeed thriving in the swamp-cooled hollows and dark passageways of El Paso’s City Hall.
The wily diehards have mutated to achieve some degree of communication skills despite their small size and terrible handicap. Although they remain sightless, they have been given public relations assignments by the city manager.
Their first major assignment hit the top spot on the front page of the printed edition El Paso Times Wednesday under the headline. “Survey asks if El Paso should drop ‘sister city’ relationship with Juárez.”
Way to go salamanders! With 15 years of international public experience under my belt, I can tell you that rookie flacks don’t usually make the front page in 72-point type!
The Times reported that city officials want to know if the Sun City should sever its “sister city” relationship with the Sin City, dare we name her – Juárez – because of the recent unpleasantness over there and decided to survey some 4,000 businesses to see if they would be willing to convert from capitalism to the Blind Salamander doctrine.
There are some prerequisites for admission to that faith of course, a rite of passage from 360-degree, 20/20 vision to the blessed state of absolute darkness.
First they must donate funds to cover surgery. You see (pardon the expression), these cities are not only sisters. They are Siamese twins, bonded by flesh, sinew and blood, and the surgery will more than likely prove expensive.
Some optimists believe that a talented surgeon could separate them and then go a step further, excising the corruption from the bad sister, saving them both. Most Blind Salamanders, however, expect the bad sister to wither and die while the good sister discovers an enhanced path to prosperity.
There are some precedents for proposing this type of action. The most notable one addresses the “Jaws Syndrome,” which was vividly presented in the film “Jaws.” In that classic film, City Hall decides to protect its image and its chamber of commerce theology by denying the existence of a monstrous Great White shark. In that case, the Jaws Syndrome proved untouchable and only dissipated when the city stalwarts felt the jaws crunching.
In our case, there is still hope. For one thing the Blind Salamanders are not large, just five inches or so when fully mature and are incapable of taking any action on their own. There are rumors that some in city hall, uncomfortable with the notion of surgery are urging that the Blind Salamanders be repatriated back to San Marcos even though they are an endangered species.
Some of the more rebellious functionaries are actually looking at facts such as the billions of dollars that flow into El Paso from border trade and hundreds of years of cultural connections and blood ties. One of them even said, “ I can see my abuela from I-10.”
One wonders how the El Paso business community will react. Will it be the Jaws syndrome or the Salamander slide?
I heard that one functionary citing state budget cuts suggested that one of the Juárez doctors who moved recently to El Paso and is practicing medicine without a license could do the surgery more economically.
That doctor could be easily deported after the operation, which has a predictable outcome since the sisters share the same heart.
More, more! I loved this piece, though I am not sure EPT or City Hall would recognize satire, even if they could see it. And, from a social scientific perspective, the first question in support of severing ties is what we call a double barrel question (to be avoided in all serious research). You can agree with the first part of the question (violence is hurting our image) and disagree with the second part (we should sever ties). Way to go salamanders!