Word has been received that Paul, Mike, and Eliot are worried about my virtual (only in our imaginations) campaign for governor. Probably because we’re going to have more fun they are.

Since announcing my virtual candidacy on Jan. 29, the response has been stunning and steady. A dozen fantastic individuals have volunteered to serve in my cabinet, although no one has chosen existing departments (go figure). We have a commissioner of arts, for example, and two commissioners of music (yes, there’s enough music to keep two commissioners busy).

Andy at Cobbossee Lakeside Motel and Cabins offered to serve as commissioner of fish and wild things. Made me reconsider my race for governor because it might be more fun to serve in Andy’s position. I am also envious of the fellow who took commissioner of malt, hops and water. I’m thinking that position will be right in my office.

I’ve got a press secretary who prefers to remain anonymous and who already has figured out her job is “to keep you out of the news.” That might be the same strategy recommended for Paul.

A supporter came up with a great campaign slogan: “I can’t do any worse.” I think we’ll go with that, although I kind of liked the slogan I’d developed. Given that my name is George Arthur Smith, initials GAS, I thought the slogan should be: Give it the GAS!

We’ve got a great start on the candidate survey — designed to help us learn a lot about each of the candidates, using humor. In the campaign announcement, I suggested that we ask, “Have you ever made fun of yourself? Tell us about it!”

When Eliot read the column, he immediately replied with a story about his failure in a milking contest. I responded that his failure to successfully milk a cow might be a good indication that he won’t be milking the taxpayers.

I liked a friend’s suggested question: “What is the oddest time you were at L.L. Bean?” I also liked another friend’s question: “Have you ever been to Lubec?” Please keep those suggestions for survey questions coming. We’ll deliver the surveys to each candidate right after the June primary.

I am especially enamored of a suggestion launched by a Facebook friend that we try an audio survey, giving each candidate a written list of Maine places, for pronunciation. Suggested places included the towns of Madrid, Vienna, St. Agatha, and Nesowadnehunk, Azicohos and Passagassawaukeag lakes.

I am asking you to add names to this list, attend a candidate forum, and during the question and answer session, hand the candidate your list and ask him to pronounce each of the names. Then let us know how he did.

As reported in the announcement, I carry in my pocket a shiny black rock from the beach at Lubec’s West Quoddy Head Light to remind me of my mother and my Downeast heritage. Instead of providing campaign buttons, I ask you to collect a rock from your favorite place in our state and keep it in your pocket or purse, a constant reminder of what is special about our state, and a prod to do more as an individual to protect and enhance these special qualities and places.

Perhaps my opponents will do this and let us know where their rock comes from and why that place is special to them.

I’m also looking for suggestions for imaginative campaign events where we can invite Paul, Mike and Eliot to join in the fun. These events should help them demonstrate that they really have a sense of humor — and take some of the ugliness out of the campaign. Eliot is badgering Mike and Paul about getting debates started. Maybe he’d have more luck if we scheduled a series of tasting events at Maine’s outstanding microbreweries.

Because I am running as a Bull Moose Party candidate, I ask you to find a sticker of a bull moose and put it on your vehicle to demonstrate your support. And all supporters should purchase a CD of our campaign song, “Slow Down (You’ll Hit A Moose)” by Stan Keach and the Sandy River Ramblers (from their “Cry of the Loon” CD).

Play it loudly, especially as you enter and exit a gubernatorial campaign event. See, while the others are talking about improving the economy, I’m already doing it!

George Smith is a writer and TV talk show host. He can be reached at 34 Blake Hill Road, Mount Vernon 04352, or [email protected] Read more of Smith’s writings at www.georgesmithmaine.com.