I’ll Stop Using the Nutshell Reference if You Stop Asking Hard Questions

Guest Editorial by Coma Mayor Dave Anderson

Recently I’ve been getting a lot of criticism for my incessant use of the term “…in a nutshell.” I will admit I probably have been over-using this term quite a bit recently.  It’s sort of my default response to challenging, difficult questions.

Last week, for example, I was at a Coma Rotary luncheon and someone asked me about my plans for police reform in Coma.  I was caught off guard by this question.  My response was thoughtful, if not completely informative.  I said to the gentleman, “In a nutshell, this is something we are going to have to address.”

I realize now that not only did that answer not provide any tangible information, it likely was a mis-use of the term altogether.


About a month ago, at a city council meeting, I was put on the spot about the budget, or something about spending or not having enough money or…something like that.  I responded by saying “we’ve got a clear and effective plan regarding this thing you just asked me about.  In a nutshell, it’s a real good plan.”

Again, I think I probably failed to impart anything resembling helpful, useful information or knowledge.  But when you back a baby wolverine into a corner, well, you gonna get stung.

Perhaps the most gratuitous use of this term occurred a couple weeks ago at dinner with a few friends.  When the waitress grilled me about what I’d like to eat, I replied “In a nutshell, I want some good food that will satisfy my appetite.”

It's dark inside of the nutshell.

It’s dark inside of the nutshell.

It’s to the point now where this response is automatic.  It’s embedded deep inside my subconscious.  But I know I can do better.  I want to do better.  In a nutshell, I want to be the mayor you have elected multiple times to serve you with integrity and accountability.  In a nutshell, I want to be the best mayor this town has had since Morley Pfifer.

That is why I am proposing an arrangement with the media, my peers and anyone else who I may come into contact with; I vow not to use the “nutshell” phrase if you vow to stop asking me challenging and complex questions on the spot.

If we can work together, we can eradicate this terrible habit.

Thank you for your support and cooperation.

Editors Note: The Mayor does not understand that Coma  is a Town and not a city and therefor has a Town Council and not a City Council. 

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