Dateline: July 8, 2017
NASHVILLE -- As it has for so many years, the Southern Baptist Convention came to Nashville to do whatever it is that giant Protestant organizations do when they convene. Usually there's a lot of fuss about rules, by-laws and so forth and, well, let's face it, unless you are yourself a Southern Baptist, you probably don't really care about that sort of thing.
The real news here is the city's unbelievable foresight seven years ago when it approved the beautiful, gorgeous and just plain kick-ass "Music City Center," without which the Southern Baptist Convention would have stopped gathering in Nashville and would have instead gathered in...well...it's a little difficult to say really. Atlanta? Possibly. New Orleans? No, that doesn't seem right. Miami? Er, doubtful. Well, never mind. Suffice it to say that they would have gone somewhere else and that would not have been a good thing, especially for our local restaurateurs.
"We are of course very excited to have the Southern Baptist Convention back in town," said Mayor Randy Rayburn, elected to office in 2015 because people in Green Hills think he's just the swellest sort of chap, plus the $25,000 contribution from the powers-that-be at then-Gannett-owned-but-now-SouthComm-subsidiaryTennessean didn't hurt either. "I can speak from my own vast professional experience as a restaurant owner when I say that local bartenders relish the arrival of thousands of complete teetotalers to our fair city. Nothing says 'big fat tip' for a bartender like a round of Diet Cokes for everyone."
The convention will be a week-long affair, after which Music City Center staffers face a quick turnaround to host the National Athletic Shoelace Association (NASS) meeting, which begins next Monday and will feature 2008 Republican Vice-Presdential candidate Sarah Palin as its keynote speaker.
"We're pretty excited about coming to Nashville," said NASS chairman William Johnston. "I'll have to say, were it not for the Music City Center, I don't think we would have ever landed someone like Sarah Palin for our keynote address. It goes without saying that our members are very excited."
Despite this excitement, sources say that this may be the last-ever convention NASS will have, inasmuch as it has started to occur to many people in the industry that big national conventions are basically a colossal waste of time and money in this technological day and age.
"Yeah, this will probably be the last one for me, even if they do continue with it in the future," said Ronald Thomas, a shoelace salesman based in Denver, Colorado. "I don't really need to see any of these people. I talk to them all of the time, everyday. What am I going to do? Hand-deliver a crate of shoelaces to them or something? I'm just not sure it's worth it anymore. I mean, I guess I do get some swag--my five-year old will love the Lacey Lion stuffed toy they put in our goodie bags--but beyond that, who cares?"
In other related news, the lawsuit between the city and the various contractors hired to build the Music City Center continues apace, as the contractors refuse to take responsibility for cost overruns, instead blaming "Metro bureaucratic sloth" for the problems.
"When we approved this thing, it was clear to everyone that these contractors would be 'on the hook' for any cost overruns with the project," said Mayor Rayburn. "I mean, it was in writing and everything. Seriously, who could have predicted that a major government project would result in a problem like this? Well, we're doing the very best we can under the circumstances."