It seems like forever ago that former Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested and ousted from office.

In reality, it was only 18 months ago for the former, 16 months for the latter, and on Thursday, his corruption trial is finally expected to begin.

Blagojevich has been a laughingstock, to be sure – not to mention a national embarrassment to Illinois. And it all could be over soon – and by soon, I mean four months from now when the trial finally ends.

Actually, we still will hear Blagojevich’s name being bandied around by Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady until Election Day (Tuesday, Nov. 2), so we’ll keep hearing about His Hairness at least until then.

But the point is, the end is nearing for Blagojevich. That’s assuming he is found guilty and imprisoned, of course. If he is found innocent, then we’re all in for a heavy dose of Blago Maximus: The Man Who Doesn’t Know When to Shut Up Already.

If you think Blagojevich is omnipresent in media outlets of all types now, imagine how bad it will be if he manages to beat the rap. He would probably star in countless reality shows and continue his weekly hypocritical throwdowns on WLS Radio.

At least he would likely provide enough material for a sequel to Second City’s spoof play “Rod Blagojevich Superstar.” The first one was entertaining, in a sad sort of way; a second edition might just make us cry, and not from laughing.

Being the butt of jokes that he has become, Blagojevich may continue to inspire quirky things like art shows (“Run, Blago, Run!” was a three-day exhibit held in Chicago last July) and soap with his likeness on it. (I saw that soap for sale at a downtown Chicago store last summer, prompting me to wonder who would want to rub a likeness of Blagojevich on their naked body – and feel cleaner for it). This could still happen for awhile after Blagojevich goes up the creek, but at least then there would be a shelf life because eventually he would be out of sight, out of mind.

That is, unless his wife, Patti, decides to go on another reality show. Then we would get treated to another round of learning weird things about Mrs. Blagojevich. Remember, during her stint as a contestant on “I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here,” Patti showed us she is willing to eat tarantulas, wade through a raging river and whine about how unfair life is to poor Patti and poor Rod.

That’s a show that has to end. I’m tired of hearing any Blagojevich proclaim the innocence and oppression of Rod, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Please, either put the man in prison – or at least shove a sock in his mouth and duct-tape it shut.

This column will also be published in the June 3 issue of  Ottawa Delivered.

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