There is a political story, possibly true, that in the early days of Lamar Alexander’s first term as governor, his cabinet members and aides proudly drove their BMWs and Mercedes into their new parking spaces at the Capitol—until they noticed that the governor’s parking slot was occupied by a rather long-in-the-tooth Plymouth. At which point, mysteriously, several gubernatorial staffers began sporting less flashy rides.
Moral: in politics, as in other lines of work, some people think following the fashion of the boss is a good idea.
Which brings up the epidemic of dull razors in the office of Mayor Karl Dean.
Dean is not known for being much in the fashion department, aside from those bright-yellow socks he sported at a July 4 campaign event. But he is known for working up a pretty good crop of nascent whiskers by late afternoon.
Viewers of the news footage of an early evening event last week at Pearl-Cohn High School could be forgiven if they thought they had accidentally tuned into a documentary about Lon Chaney Jr.
“He seemed like a nice guy, but his five o’clock shadow was positively Nixonian,” says one parent who was at the event.
Which made it all the more remarkable last week when Jim Hester, Dean’s senior advisor, and Toby Compton, the mayor’s legislative director, were seen sporting noticeably darker visages in the late afternoon.
“I think they’re purposely using a duller razor so that they can have a five o’clock shadow like the mayor,” says a source in the courthouse. “They come walking through here looking like a bunch of hoboes after a three-day boxcar ride.”
But Compton says it’s all a coincidence.
“We’ve been working so hard I haven’t had time to run by the drugstore to get some new razor blades, so I’m using an old one,” he says innocently. “I can’t believe you would think that a political aide would stoop to something like that just to suck up to the boss.”