The good news is that Mike Michaud and Eliot Cutler each has a sense of humor. They’ll need it to get through the rest of this ugly gubernatorial campaign.
As part of my virtual (only in my imagination) campaign for governor, I set out to use humor to help all of us learn more about the candidates for governor. With some excellent suggestions from readers of this column, I created a Maine Stream Gubernatorial Candidate Survey, focused on fun, and urged the candidates to give us humorous answers when they felt those were appropriate.
We know you have a sense of humor, I told the candidates, and we want you to use it. Unfortunately, Gov. Paul LePage refused to complete the survey, so we can only speculate about his sense of humor. Michaud and Cutler not only completed the survey, but put a lot of thought into their answers.
This week I’ll report on Michaud’s survey responses, and next week’s column will be about Cutler’s responses. At the end of each column, I will give you a way to access the entire survey. The survey includes 11 questions so I don’t have the space to give you all the answers in this column. Here are some of my favorite answers from Michaud’s survey.
• Have you ever made fun of yourself? Tell us about it!
Michaud: Between my parents’ sense of humor and being one of six kids, I rarely had to worry about making fun of myself since there was no shortage of family members to assist in that regard. As my staff knows though, I’m not ashamed to resort to self-deprecating humor if it’ll keep the mood light in the office.
• Have you ever: Climbed Mount Katahdin — Yes; Rafted a Maine river — Yes; Been to Lubec — Yes; Shopped in North Conway — No; Shopped at the Portsmouth Liquor Store — No; Had a yard sale — Yes; Been to a bean suppah — Yes; • Eaten bear meat — Yes; Shopped at a farmer’s market — Yes (list location) Well, I’ve been to a whole lot of them, including Skowhegan, Lewiston, Portland and Augusta. They’re a great place to meet people while supporting local farmers; Harvested fiddleheads — Yes.
• Which of the following should be on our license plates? Photo of the governor; black fly; whoopie pie; empty factory; other (your best idea). I think we should have a license plate with a view of Mount Katahdin from across Millinocket Lake.
• Name your Maine favorites.
Book: It’s hard to pick just one favorite because there are a lot of great books by Maine authors, but I just love what Sarah Smiley did with her book, “Dinner With the Smiley’s.” I’ve gotten to know her family well over the years, but it was an honor to be one of the family’s invited guests when her husband, Dustin, was deployed. Seeing the way all of the family’s dinner guests — including politicians from different parties — could just come together and support Sarah and her three boys was inspiring.
Food: I’m hardly ever home and end up eating out for most meals, so I end up ordering blueberry pie whenever I go to a restaurant that bakes its own in-house. It’s about as close as I get to a home-cooked meal. My favorite is the blueberry pie at Helen’s in Machias. I was so sad to hear when it burned it down, but I’m glad they’re rebuilding and can’t wait to see them back in business.
Product: New Balance shoes.
Beer: Lots of great Maine beers. Right now my favorite is probably Banded Horn.
Fish: I like to catch brookies, but eat salmon.
Outdoor activity: Really like working on my woodlot on the Penobscot River in Medway. Just wish had more time for fishing.
Song: “Let’s Hear it for the Working Man.”
Other favorites: Ice cream: Love the coconut ice cream from Mortons Moo in Ellsworth.
• Tell us about your favorite hunting or fishing experience in Maine. Mostly just memories of fishing with my dad as a kid. We used to go fishing at different rivers and lakes all over the Katahdin region. He taught me how to tie flies. One summer, we built a canoe together. I don’t get to go fishing as much as I used to when I owned my sporting camp, but every time I do I still think of him and look forward to the day when I finish building my log cabin on the Penobscot so I can devote more time to fishing.
• Other questions included their favorite place in Maine, Maine humorous story and state slogan. I also asked what they’d be showing on the TV set above the door to the gwovernor’s office (I really loved Michaud’s response), and what is the best thing we can do to protect the Maine we love? Michaud’s answer is very thoughtful.
You can access and read that answer and Michaud’s entire survey in the Maine Stream section of my website, www.georgesmithmaine.com.