Editorial: See Tim and die

We figured out ages ago that an anagram for "Tim Shadbolt" is Mad Bolts Hit.

Which is apt, given how often the man seems to be a lightning rod for bolts of inspiration that are liable to leave him energised and sparking.

Kapow. It's happened again. An idea has seemingly come to him in a flash. We should consider, he says, marketing the south as a place for bucket list events.

Including, say, meeting him.

In case your pop culture references are a bit shaky, a bucket list is a catalogue of things you want to do before you kick the bucket.

So what are we talking about here? Destination tourism with Tim as the destination? Not quite. It's more like he'd be among the attractions.

And if you think Tim's being screamingly egotistical by positioning himself as a significant figure in the checklist, let's not forget that this wasn't his idea initially. A group of five high school friends travelling around New Zealand visited him this week on exactly that basis.

So he's just floating the idea; putting that brand of his to work.

Okay. We're listening.

Obviously, nobody's suggesting that this would be some Lourdes-style pilgrimage of people seeking to touch the hem of his mayoral garment for healing.

A closer, less sacrilegious analogy might be that he would take the same role at Invervegas' civic administration building that former US boxing great Joe Louis did at Las Vegas' Caesar's Palace as a professional greeter who also (and here we're extending the comparison to give our public opinion correspondents something to play with) bet with house money when the action seemed a little slow.

Louis was by then, sadly, a has-been, whereas Tim's mayoralty has just recently been emphatically endorsed by the public.

In some respects he is already a professional greeter. Most mayors are. And those who scorn the idea of visitors being interested in any opportunity to meet him are meanly denying an abundance of evidence that the mayor still has enviable brand recognition with the wider public.

As we've said before, a little card giving daily updates about his wellbeing should be handed out at the Invercargill Airport tarmac, the state highways leading out of town, and probably the Port of Bluff.

That way every citizen tripping out of the province would have an up-to-date answer when some northerner inevitability asks: "How's Tim?"

If everyone hitting town on a flying visit was able to expect a sit-down over coffee and cake in the mayoral chambers, Mr Shadbolt wouldn't have a whole heap of time to devote to his other mayoral duties. But that just means that it might take some managing and co-ordinating; not that it just couldn't be done.

As for other bucket-list experiences in Invercargill and Southland, we're spoiled for choice. Feel free to discuss them among yourselves. Maybe a slogan as well.

There's already a famous one: "See Naples and die" which is widely held to attest to the sheer beauty of the southern Italian town.

As it happens, the phrase more likely referred to the fact that many tubercular children of wealthy parents were sent there to regather their strength, but sadly when the lovely warmer weather gave way to damp winters with a cruel, bitingly cold easterly, more than a few would regrettably kark it. So let's not go there.

The Southland Times