Town Talk: Life lessons from the campaign trail. Or not.
By Mike Danahey email@example.com March 28, 2012 8:10AM
Dr. Bob Tiballi
Updated: April 30, 2012 8:11AM
Sure, Dr. Bob Tiballi of Elgin lost the GOP primary race for Kane County coroner to DuPage County Sheriff’s Deputy Rob Russell.
Most of us only have to worry about what a coroner says if and when someone we know dies under mysterious or dubious circumstances. But runner-up Tiballi has lessons from along the campaign trail that most of us can use in our daily lives.
First, Tiballi’s run teaches the importance of literally keeping our hands clean.
Tiballi is part of a medical practice called Germbusters, which specializes in infectious diseases. Since 1996, Tiballi and the Germbusters have been involved in diagnosing, controlling and treating multiple community outbreaks, including legionnaire’s disease, whooping cough, a flesh-eating bacterium scare, and even seen a case of Q fever, a bacterial infection one man picked up from livestock while visiting a farm in Mexico.
The movie “Contagion,” which was partly filmed in Elgin, was about a contagious disease that wreaks global havoc in 3D. Well, no, it’s not based on Tiballi’s life. Still, seeking votes by shaking hands with thousands of potential ballot-casters put Tiballi at risk for catching all sorts of bugs.
But he didn’t even get a cold or the flu.
His secret: Tiballi used copious amounts of hand sanitizer, a habit he already had from being a doctor. While he doesn’t recommend a specific brand, Tiballi said that those seeking to emulate this habit should find a type with a moisturizer, as the alcohol in hand sanitizers can dry out skin, causing it to crack. Germs, like certain entertainers, are partial to crack(s).
Still, even a doctor with Tiballi’s background couldn’t avoid all risks on the road to the coroner’s office.
“I think I got food poisoning once,” Tiballi said.
The Election Diet
Which brings us to Lesson Two.
Despite having many banquets to attend, Tiballi — who also volunteered for Rick Santorum’s presidential effort in Illinois — said he was so busy he hardly had the chance to nibble or nosh.
“In fact, I lost 20 pounds. One of the reasons I wished I would have made it to the general election is I probably would have lost more weight,” he said.
Tiballi thinks he shed pounds because he was keeping active and didn’t have time to think about food.
Somebody needs to write “The Campaign Trail Diet Book: Living Healthy By Running for Office.”
There are at least two ways an author could go with this to wind up on Dr. Oz’s show. The premise could be metaphorical, that if we all just keep super busy and run from event to event, grazing a little along the way like a politician, we could lose weight. The other — which might be good for democracy — would be encouraging more people to seek office, for the waistline of the dieter and for the good of the country.
No, not Frank
In Tiballi’s case, losing more weight might leave him less recognizable to some. He noted that in past years, he has been mistaken for comic impressionist Frank Caliendo, who is known for his appearances on Fox TV’s NFL pregame shows.
Tiballi said that at first he would tell people that he wasn’t Caliendo. Why people would think Caliendo would be hanging out in the Fox Valley is anybody’s guess. Eventually, though, Tiballi took to playing along, even signing autographs as Caliendo, impersonating an impersonator.
And that’s the final lesson.
If you look like someone sort of famous — who is not evil or who is not from the cast of “Jersey Shore” — roll with it.
In fact, given this country’s love of celebrity, maybe Tiballi should have worked on his Charles Barkley and John Madden impersonations and used them during his bid for office.