Down East 2013 ©
Lewiston had an unusual election this week, in which the candidates were a dead guy and a brain-dead guy. Bob Macdonald, the latter, won by a narrow margin  and promptly went into wacky dictator mode, threatening his opponents with revenge .
The leader of those opponents, Mark Paradis, wisely remained silent, in part because he had a reputation for moderation and seeking consensus, but mostly because he had passed away  a few days before the election, a development that probably helped tip the outcome in Macdonald’s favor.
In any case, the new mayor-elect came to his senses (or had some sense slapped into him) shortly afterwards and cancelled the retaliation. Instead, he said, his political foes would be pardoned and exiled to Auburn.
During his campaign, Macdonald made a number of remarks that some people characterized as racist, while others said they were merely ignorant and insensitive. He referred to downtown Lewiston, where many Somali immigrants live, as a “fourth-world country.” He took umbrage at comparisons between the arrival of the Somalis over the last decade and in huge influx of French-Canadians a century before, calling that “aggravating” and demanding it be stopped.
“When you start comparing these people to people's ancestors, what do you think is going to happen?” Macdonald told the Sun Journal. “It causes a lot of stress, and it causes Lewiston residents to hate these people.”
But before Macdonald could employ his newfound authority to mobilize the Lewiston Police Department and order it to seek out instigators who dared to express such views and have them shipped across the Androscoggin River never to return, he was confronted with a different kind of immigration-related threat.
And just like the Somalis, they were black.
Unlike them, however, they were arachnids. Maine had been invaded by black widow spiders .
And they had arrived with advanced weaponry.
In late November, workers at Bath Iron Works were unloading parts for missile launchers for a destroyer the shipyard was building. Inside some of the crates, they discovered the poisonous creatures, whose bites can cause muscle pain, breathing problems, restless leg syndrome, sex addiction, increased appreciation of yodeling and a tendency to say stupid things. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately and do not run for mayor of Lewiston.
BIW officials claimed they had disarmed the spiders and fumigated all areas where black widows, which are not native to Maine, could be lurking. Experts tried to reassure the public that the little beasties couldn’t survive in this state’s cold climate. But on Twitter and Facebook, there were disturbing indications that many of the spiders had escaped and were headed for Lewiston.
As one posting on a website called spiderswithoutspouses.com put it, “There are plenty of potential husbands there, girls.”
Macdonald is said to be taking quick action to head off the invasion. He is reported to have demanded that Lewiston activate its nuclear arsenal and has called for a preemptive strike against Lisbon Falls, which is rumored to be harboring black widow cells.
“Even if that isn’t true,” Macdonald allegedly said, “the bombs will still destroy most of the world’s supply of Moxie. So it’s worth it either way.”
In other news of the week just past, Maine attempted to set a world record for ugly Christmas sweaters .
Across the state, little old ladies were recruited to knit hideous yarn-based creations featuring holiday themes, such as kittens drinking the Christmas grog and barfing, puppies attacking Santa Claus as he attempts to escape up the chimney, and Bob Macdonald nailing the door of a Section 8-subsidized apartment closed so that no more low-income immigrants can move to Lewiston.
Organizers of the event, which was held in Wells last weekend hoped to attract the attention of the Guinness Book of World Records or at least the Bud Light Book of Stupid Stunts. In the end, about three dozen people in unsightly sweaters showed up. At this posting’s deadline, it was still not clear if that was enough to qualify as a record or merely an embarrassment.
In another contest that made only marginally more sense, the Maine Rural Water Association (motto: No Longer Sponsoring Wet T-Shirt Contests Because of the Unfortunate Aftermath From Our Last Convention) held its annual competition to find the best tasting water  in the state. The winner was Kingfield for its vodka-infused H2O with a lemon twist. “Hic,” said the judges’ unanimous opinion. “Hic, hic, hic.”
Madison came in second for its Kennebec River sample from just below the outflow pipes at the paper mill. “Ick,” said the judges. “Urk.”
They did add a note that read, “Still, it beats Moxie.”
It’s also that joyous time of year when otherwise seemingly normal people engage in bird counts . This is exactly what it sounds like. Participants count birds. So many pigeons. So many crows. So many seagulls. When they’re finished, the figures are submitted to the U.S. Department of Ornitho-Americans (motto: Flocking Together Like, Well, You Know) and are used to decide how much federal aid each state gets.
You have to admit, that makes more sense than the way education money is allocated.
Anyway, last year, the bird count spotted some unusual species, including the northern shoveler , which is a species of duck that clears sidewalks after snowstorms; the clay-colored sparrow , which is a sparrow that’s, um, clay-colored; and the Eurasian wigeon , which is another duck although this one performs no useful chores.
When news of the wigeon’s presence in Maine was made public, Lewiston Mayor-elect Bob Macdonald immediately issued a statement condemning this latest wave of immigration. “We have plenty of good old American ducks looking for work,” Macdonald may have said. “We don’t need foreign interlopers befouling our lakes and streams and eating our minnows.”
Macdonald blamed the arrival in Maine of “fourth-world” wigeons on government subsidies for duck nesting habitat and vowed to end the practice in Lewiston.
Al Diamon intends to steer clear of Lewiston for the foreseeable future. Anyone there who wants to get in touch can email him at email@example.com .