Local government elections are coming up. Back in the day, I did some time on Midway council so I’d like to lend my two cents worth of advice to the aspiring candidates.
I know for a fact that I lost a vote or two on my very first evening of door knocking. Maybe this tale will be useful.
I had a campaign flyer. It had only two promises: I will make mistakes; and I will do everything I can to fix those mistakes as soon as possible. It took me no time at all to fulfill my first promise.
I was working day shift and I was out knocking on doors after dark. I can’t remember exactly how many houses I’d tried that night before I came across the place where they ran me off the property.
It was fully dark by now. I saw the lights were on in the house, and when I got to the porch I could hear the television in the living room.
I didn’t get any response when I knocked the first time, so I knocked again. That’s when I heard a gruff and husky voice coming from the other side of the door.
All the guy said was, “If you know what’s good for ya!”
I left the porch and the property without delay. I didn’t bother to leave one of my campaign flyers either. Door-to-door campaigning lesson number two came just a few doors later.
A sweet little old lady answered the door and after I explained why I was there, she said I should come inside so I could talk to her husband.
So I did the nice Canadian thing. I took off my shoes at the door and hustled down the hallway in the direction she’d disappeared; only to come into the living room where the woman was bending over the couch, waking her sleeping husband from his nap.
He listened briefly to her explanation of why I was standing in their living room and then he generously gave me some voter feedback. “Well you can just keep on running too,” he said. My second mistake at this place was in leaving a flyer—so he knew my name and I’m pretty sure I didn’t get his vote.
With these adventures behind me, my after dark door-to-door campaigning ended.
They say that identifying your voter support has a lot to do with knowing their preferences. It took some time but I finally got some insightful voter demographic information on that first house. I found out what it was they were watching on TV that night.
It was about two or three years later when I was visiting a friend in Penticton. While we played cribbage the kids were watching a video in the next room. Home Alone was in the VCR—the movie where the little kid is left “home alone” and has to thwart the evil plans of a couple of bumbling burglars.
There is one scene where the bad guys are right outside the front door and the kid has this voice recorder toy. The cool thing about the toy is the switch that lets you choose what type of voice it plays back at.
The kid wants to scare the burglars away so he chooses the gruff and husky setting, pushes the button and out comes the same exact voice and words I’d heard years before: “If you know what’s good for ya.”