Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain

Who, you ask, is Rufus C. Rose? No, Rufus isn’t a cartoon character or the star of a major pre-talkie movie. He, like Sarah the telephone operator and The Angels’ boss Charlie, is one of the more important characters you’ve never seen.

How ‘bout Howdy Doody? Ah, yes, you say. Rockin’ right along, Rufus is the man who created and, for 13 years, pulled the strings of that freckle-faced little puppet boy who dominated early television. Rufus could make Howdy dance to the music and string along anywhere he wanted.

Rufus controlled from behind the scenes. He’s long since gone to his reward, but some believe his puppet master spirit lives on, perhaps right here in our city. Some believe the strings are attached firmly to elected officials in and outside city government. To those “some,” we’d like to know more.

Our problem is there’s no proof, merely speculation. Watching inaction after inaction, month after month, by our city council, one could see where there might be a modicum of fact to the wondering. Rocker isn’t a conspiracy theorist (however, the moonwalk was filmed at Disney studios), but such well-orchestrated opposition to just about anything coming from Hizzonner can’t be grounded solely in spontaneity.

Actions have a clear, loud voice. If there is someone pulling strings, what is the ultimate goal? One could say power is the impetus. We will soon see if there’s someone powerful enough to hold grown folks up by strings, and that optic could come very soon. Perhaps as soon as the planned attempt to get select neighborhood signatures for grant money to do much-needed infrastructure work.

Maybe we’ll even see if there’s one (or more) pulling the strings that can continue to keep some purported puppets out of court, a fete that could give feet to speculation. This rockin’ chair isn’t equipped with a crystal ball accessory, but it does have a landing spot for messenger pigeons. A little concrete information sure beats a truckload of “they” say.

One old-time movie contains an appropriate quote in reference to what could be the source of futility that permeates just about every level of our city government. Paraphrasing, the bad guy says, “Why would I want to be a politician when it’s so easy to control one. Get more done that way.”

Consider, though, what it takes to be an accomplished puppeteer. It takes a good puppet: a character without structure (primarily, a spine) that functions only at the dictate of another. A soulless object, without conscience, will or senses beyond what is granted by its master.

Just as in The Wizard of Oz, Toto is sniffing around. He’s checking behind curtains, sniffing along sidewalks. Better than even odds he’s gonna find more than chalk marks and dust bunnies.