O'Malley highways whisked me to work, past woods, streams and marshland all acquired by wise and all-seeing O'Malley minions. Arriving at my desk, I pored over reams of the latest O'Malley missives outlining the latest O'Malley accomplishments. "My, oh, my," I blurted out to colleagues, "when does Martin O'Malley sleep?"
He announces. He initiates. He launches.
He congratulates. He applauds. He endorses. No effort is too small for mention in an O'Malley news release, even marinas that stop pumping feces into the water get their props as long as the governor gets his.
Why, in the middle of the budget crisis last year, O'Malley took time from his busy day to remind anglers that "there are still plenty of good opportunities for Marylanders to get out on the water, either on their own or through a charter boat, and enjoy the rest of the summer."
When two hikers wandered off and were later found, O'Malley commended "everyone involved for their brave effort."
Even when O'Malley did not appear to be in the room, rest assured, he was there.
From the graduation of Natural Resources Police recruits at Anne Arundel Community College ("The Maryland Natural Resources Police are crucial to ensuring the safety of our citizens as well as our treasured land and aquatic resources are safe," said the invisible O'Malley) to the ceremonial tossing out of the first fish for the state's annual contest ("Our annual fishing challenge offers Maryland families and visitors the chance to win prizes while enjoying our exceptional waterways and recreational fishing opportunities," said Mr. Omnipresent), news releases would have you believe that our governor presided.
Now, this isn't to say his predecessor didn't use the Office of Smoke and Mirrors to gin up pretty-picture backdrops for news conferences during his failed re-election bid. As a matter of fact, it used to be a running joke with that office which mountain or waterfront scene would be used by Bob Ehrlich to blah-blah-blah.
But this is something else: 261 weekdays averaging one O'Malleygram every other day. Not even Stephen King could keep up. And the funny thing is, the news releases read just fine without him in them.
When I teased a high-ranking DNR official about the volume of material and the number of MOM mentions, I was told, "All agencies do it."
Of the 79 news releases issued last year by the Maryland Department of the Environment, 26 (33 percent) worked the governor into the action. The Department of Agriculture issued 239 news releases and notices, with dear old MOM in 63 (26 percent) of them.
There are, however, limits to what the governor will take credit for. He does not do:
■ Dead animals. He doesn't announce hunting regulations, contest winners or more hunting opportunities. He doesn't warn us to be safe during hunting season. No quote in the "Muskrat trapping season extended" press release. Must be saving himself for the next nutria release.
■ Creepy invaders of our animal kingdom, planet world or underwater areas. No emerald ash borers, rock snot or myco for MOM.
■ Natural Resources Police arrests. The former prosecutor was silent after a sting operation busted eight men at Gambrill State Park and charged them with lewd sexual conduct. MOM was mum on oyster poachers, too. (But he bounced back into the limelight to speak up for our leafy friends as part of the "Trees for Schools Project.")
■ Speaking of trees ... memorial tree plantings for deceased presidential cats. Really, no MOM comment in a news release that went out to note that the Clinton's cat, Socks, would be getting a tree planted in St. Mary's County. Geez, if you can't comment on a dead Democratic cat, what animal will you move your lips for?
■ Which brings us to ... certain kinds of fish. His excellency saw fit to comment on the setting of state records for shark and cobia -- robust, manly, Hemingway-esque beasts. But pity Don Perantoni, the angler who caught the 9-inch warmouth. His accomplishment was lauded by Fisheries Service biologist Keith Lockwood. Also ...
■ Photo contests, art displays and vision plans. Secretary of Natural Resources John Griffin carries the water on those.
■ Park closings for furlough days ... but MOM was happy to be part of the written festivities when parks were open Labor Day weekend.
So in closing, let me leave you with this Irish blessing: May the road rise to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face. And on Nov. 2, remember who made it all happen.