Published: Jan. 22, 2021

Every year, The Daily Camera opens the door for local folks to vote in a “Best of Boulder” poll. Most of the categories involve a variety of commercial enterprises, from restaurants to gyms. But, in days of yore, the Camera had a category called “Best CU Personality.” 

Usually, the voters sorted out the football coach, the women’s basketball coach, Ralphie, and me into some sort of order of preference. (As to how I found a place in that elite line-up, remember that I hold the important office of Official University Fool.)

In 1998, Ralphie and I were nearly tied for third place, but a close count made it clear that she had left me in the dust.

To quote from Marlon Brando, not only “could I have been a contender,” I was a contender! 

And I lost. 

The reason for my defeat was not hard to identify. After all, a buffalo will always be certified as “a charismatic megafauna,” while my right to claim membership in that category will always fluctuate.

But here is the part that really adds the element of wonder to the terms of my election loss.

Ralphie was dead at the time she beat me.

When I have had the good fortune to speak to audiences of elected officials, I am unmistakably an outsider who has never run for office.  But the people introducing me to the audience on those occasions do not know the full range of my accomplishments. So I am always careful to inform the audience that I am speaking to them as the only person on the planet to have lost an election to a dead buffalo.  My electoral loss has, I believe, been a magical force in affirming a connection between me and innumerable public servants. 

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