Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., the former Maryland delegate, U.S. representative and, of course, governor, wears a Silly Band.
(For those of you not in the know, Silly Bandz is the plural. And that’s how the rubber bands shaped like dinosaurs, pop stars and cartoon characters are generally worn — several, dozens, at a time.)
The Republican gubernatorial candidate, however, just wears the one. He visited The Daily Record for an interview this week and as the questions were wrapping up, one of the editors asked about the bracelets visible below the cuff of his shirt.
The question led to the most somber stretch of the interview with the normally affable Ehrlich.
The light blue band that reads “Conner’s Way” is from the charity of the same name. Its goal is to raise awareness of and increase testing for Tay-Sachs disease. The charity was named for Conner Phillip Hopf, an infant who suffered from the disease.
Ehrlich said he met the family, and held the young boy shortly before his death.
“We got to be involved with the movement there and I promised them I’d wear this,” Ehrlich said.
In fact, according to the charity’s website, in Ehrlich’s official portrait that hangs in the governor’s reception room in the State House, the bracelet can be seen around the former governor’s left wrist.
The second bracelet – the orange one – reads “I am able” and is from the Special Olympics, a cause Ehrlich has long supported, most publicly through his participation in the icy Polar Bear Plunge at Sandy Point State Park. (Check out the photo in the link, and not only will you see the best shot of Ehrlich and former Lt. Gov. Michael Steele out there, but you can catch a glimpse of the orange and blue bands on Ehrlich’s wrist.)
He reached up under his cuff and pulled out the blue Silly Band.
“I have a six-year-old,” he explained.
But this isn’t just any old Silly Band, available in 24-packs in themes like baseball, Spongebob Squarepants, dinosaurs, and, of course, Justin Bieber.
So what is the would-be gubernatorial Silly Band?
“An elephant,” guessed another editor.
“Yes!” said Ehrlich, smacking the table.
And that’s how the interview, which began with business regulation and finished with Silly Bandz, ended.
When Gov. Martin O’Malley comes by we’ll be sure to raise the Silly Bandz question somehow. He too has young children, but I think he would have a harder time coming up with a donkey band than Ehrlich did tracking down an elephant.