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YARBROUGH: Sonny's got a handle on his legacy

I read where Gov. Sonny Perdue held a pep rally at the Capitol for state agency heads, state employees and assorted bass fishermen to fire up the troops as he prepares for the last year of what has been a scintillating two terms as our leader.

Although he won't admit it, sources tell me that the governor is concerned about his legacy. Good move. If I were him, I would be, too.

Recently, he called in his top advisers to talk about what could be done to enhance his image and for him to be mentioned in the same breath with some of Georgia's most notable past governors, like Humphrey Wells and Seth John Cuthbert.

"OK, guys. Let's talk about my image. When somebody mentions Humphrey Wells and Seth John Cuthbert in the future, I want them to think of Sonny Perdue, too. Let's be brutally honest. How do you think I will be remembered?"

"Sir, I think you will be regarded as one of our state's visionary leaders. Your effort to take the Cost of Living Allowance away from retired school teachers was nothing short of brilliant. Even Humphrey Wells didn't have the guts to try that. Of course, that initiative bombed like your well-publicized diet, but you gave it your best shot and it certainly assured your standing as our Education Governor."

"Oh, piffle. Every governor claims they were the Education Governor — even James Oglethorpe and we didn't have any schools when he was here. In case you geniuses haven't noticed, I've been cutting the education budget like a mowing machine. I hope to have them down to $100 a school system before I leave. Let the schools raise the rest. Have cake sales or car washes or something. Everybody is talking about putting up a statue of Zell Miller because of the HOPE scholarship. Big deal. I gave an elephant a physical. Let's see Zell try that. Why can't I get a statue of me giving an elephant a proctoscopic examination?"

"Governor, I think we are ahead of you on this one. We've been looking at putting a statue of you on the Capitol grounds for some time now. The problem is that an elephant would take up a lot of room. We were thinking more along the lines of digging a hole and filling it with water. We would then erect a statue of you standing up on a boat with one foot on the bow looking like George Washington crossing the Delaware. The inscription would read, ‘He Went Fishing, Georgia.'"

"Hmm. That's not bad. Are you sure something like that hasn't been done for Humphrey Wells or Seth John Cuthbert?"

"Governor, as far as we can tell, there are no statues to Gov. Wells or Gov. Cuthbert in the state. A tribute like this would clearly set you apart from them."

"I like what I'm hearing. Maybe we could point the statue in the direction of China. You remember how I went to China a couple of years ago when things got so testy around here during the legislative session with people yelling at each other and stuff? I hate conflict."

"I believe we could handle that, sir. Also, there are a few other things by which you will be remembered that we would like to get on the statue. We have a picture of you in a Dr. Seuss' ‘Cat in the Hat' costume, another of you in a motorcycle jacket and one with you wearing a football jersey about two sizes too small. We think adding those items to the statue will remind future Georgians of the dignity you have brought to the office."

"Looks like you guys have had your thinking caps on. I doubt Humphrey or Seth John ever did any of that stuff."

"That is a pretty safe assumption, governor. And as far as we know, no other governor has, either. You are truly one of a kind."

"Thanks, guys. That's what everybody tells me. By the way, are you sure we can't add an elephant to the statue?"

E-mail columnist Dick Yarbrough at yarb2400@bellsouth.net.