But I was there, taking notes as Chamber CEO Dan Clem and others spoke. Here's my report.
Clem only got out a few words before tears filled his eyes. Obviously it was a moving moment for him to admit:
"Yes, it's true, the Salem Chamber of Commerce has been putting brain implants in the craniums of City leaders for many years. After liberals took over City Hall way back when, we wanted to make sure that the Mayor, city councilors, and other Very Important People in this town always acted to benefit the already rich-and-powerful."
Wow! I had to force myself to keep on paying attention to what Clem was saying, because this was emotional for me too.
After all, I was the first to break this story back in 2014 -- in a Strange Up Salem column, "Salem's Invasion of the Brain Snatchers." It hurt when nobody believed me. Now I knew that my expose was confirmed.
A Pulitzer Prize for investigative blogging was mine! (assuming one existed) Memories of what I'd written danced across my mind as I struggled to attend to Clem.
The mind control device wasn’t visible.
Not surprising. I figured the Chamber of Commerce surgeons would be too skilled to leave any traces. They’d be the best money could buy.
So after an election forum I decided to dive into the belly of the beast. I looked Sheronne Blasi, a City Council candidate, in the eye. The question had to be asked.
“Have you gotten the Chamber of Commerce brain implant yet? You know, the one that allows Chamber officials to push a button and control how city councilors vote.”
Blasi said, “No, I haven’t.”
Hah! Just the response someone programmed to do the Chamber’s bidding would give!
Bursting out of my reverie, I heard Clem's voice break as he talked about how he'd bought a smartphone meditation app for all Chamber of Commerce staff to use so they could be more focused and concentrated on working to benefit special interests.
"One day I settled down in front of my Ayn Rand shrine and clicked on the wrong guided meditation. It was about compassion for others. Bizarrely, I listened to it. Something suddenly changed in me. I decided to come clean about the brain implants."
Clem then introduced a couple of people who had just had their implants removed. First up was Mayor Anna Peterson. She spoke about how different she felt now.
"It's like waking up from a dream where you don't care about anything except what people who golf at Illahe Hills Country Club want. I apologize to everybody who has testified at City Council meetings and seen me staring blankly at them like a robotic Stepford Wife. Not my fault. I was under the control of the Chamber's brain implant!"
Michael Davis, executive editor of the Statesman Journal, then stepped up to the podium. He also was in an apologetic mood.
"I should have refused the brain implant after I came to Salem. However, it just seemed easier to take the Chamber of Commerce up on their offer. They convinced me that fewer staff would be needed at the newspaper if I and other top Statesman Journal executives got the implant, then followed its directives to copy press releases from the Chamber and City Hall verbatim, rather than write original stories.
Now that I remember what I learned in journalism school, I'm reassigning reporters from the Kid's Page, What Happened in Salem 100 Years Ago, and the Angry Owl beat to do some actual investigative reporting about local issues."
Beautiful! The future is bright for Salem. What happened today, April 1, won't soon be forgotten.