Maine State Lottery officials accused of having a Kwikie

The true art of politics is to utter the stupid, the objectionable or the utterly mendacious, all with a straight face.

Which is why I admire greatly the political talents of those involved in the Maine State Lottery.

These fine people decided that their scratch-off tickets needed an aura of renewed excitement.

This is called “rebranding,” among the marketingorati.

The main people at the Maine State Lottery clearly had the whole English lexicon at their disposal.

They also had the alphabet, whose letters are now put together by brand-name creators to form all sorts of nonsensical names such as Altria and the extremely efficacious beauty soap called Pinus.

Instead, they opted for Kwikie.

At first glance, it delivers a certain positive benefit. It suggests speed.

But, especially (though not exclusively) when being said by a man to a woman, it conjures benefits that might not be freely given by the person being asked.

Charming, no?

Charming, no?

Yes, soon (the new name is to penetrate the market shortly) there will be mature men walking into stores in Maine and asking young women for a Kwikie.

Naturally, as the local Bangor Daily News reports, the gentry at the State Lottery are pleading ignorance. Or, rather, a high school teacher’s pedantic insistence.

Gerry Reid of the Maine Bureau Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations said: “I fully understand that when someone saw this word in isolation, they thought, ‘Oh, these guys are getting a bit racy.’ We’re actually doing everything we can possibly do to not lead you to that place in your mind.”

Actually, they aren’t doing everything. For one, they’re calling it “Kwikie,” which immediately leads most minds to precisely that place.

Some might find a deeper explanation in some other words from Reid. For example: “Our job is to make money for the state.”

Reid insisted that there was nothing smutty about this name. He referred skeptics to the store Kwik-E-Mart.

That’s the convenience store in “The Simpsons.” Ergo, might he not have imagined that there was, well, the danger of an intentional double-entendre there too?

Sadly, Reid did leave the door open for the Kwikie to grind to a halt.

“It’s not our decision to offend anybody. If we see that’s where it’s going, we won’t do it,” he said.

No, no. Do it, Gerry. Do it. Do it to Maine. Do it now. Do it fast. Do it good.

Make this Kwikie so exciting that it will be the most memorable Kwikie that anyone has ever had.

Make it so that everyone in Maine is dying for a Kwikie.

That’s your job, after all.