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The Tentacle


November 3, 2016

Reading the Mail

Harry M. Covert

In the midst of this human Internet, there are many smiles and great rewards. Don't quit perusing these paragraphs yet, please! There is more to come, good stuff for sure if you remain faithful.

 

The thing that aid and abet these eclectic and electronic treatises are the responsive notes from so many smart, kind and humorous readers. Obviously, they know good stories when they read them. I benefit from them.

 

This space receives many notes, mostly happy and agreeing with the suggestions, ideas and perspectives. Sure, I like self-serving comments. Why should I pay attention to critics who dare think I'm a nitwit, or professor, or intellectual wannabe, or questionable politician?

 

A number of good emails responded to my insinuation recently that we need a day of prayer and séances. I also commented negatively on bow hunting.

 

The names are going to be incognito here, but they are true and will be made public if ordered by a court or congressional committee.

 

I liked this one:

 

"Your column is darling! Light and frothy, I'm all weighed down with vitriol from this election. I think we all need to cuddle with a cute little dog, and just be quiet."

 

A         dmit it, good writing! Good thinking.

 

Then this one in good humor from another outstanding columnist:

 

"Have you become a vegan, or do you just choose to have someone else murder the animals you eat?"

 

Yikes! A shot to the nose.

 

This happens all the time. I'm delighted too, probably to the envy of other wordsmiths.

 

Editors of all publications get notes, primarily from readers who want to remain anonymous. It's easier to be smart alecky if they can hide.

 

My rule on nameless, unsigned experts and would-be writers is to trash them. There must be integrity in the public prints and that includes the Internet in the space age of extreme misbehavior in broadcast and print media and the political class.

 

Still with me in this noble effort?

 

Several correspondents with good taste and fervor shared this:

 

"Well said...right on...right as usual."

 

Admittedly this is ego boosting and shows brilliance and editorial excellence. What's wrong with being puffed up and cool? Don't say anything.

 

Here's one. I like it:

 

"You've got such great commentaries." My, my, my.

 

Then:

 

"I enjoy your columns, really, you make me think and laugh."

 

All right. A few ugly notes, not too many though. The danger in the writing dodge is telling truthful things, you know, anecdotal tidbits. But I like them.

 

"Ain't you got anything better to do?"

 

From an angry correspondent bellowed in capital letters. Attention-getter.

 

No!

 

"Where do you come up with all this stuff?"

 

To answer, and I always respond to readers of all sorts, I keep my ears open, eyes wide and writing instruments at the ready.

 

My late mother always forcefully asked: "Where'd you get that story?" It took a while, but I managed to convince her.

 

My editor always says firmly and brusquely: "You better be able to back these up!"

 

Oh, my legal representative says it this way: "Your retainer fee is late." Frankly, the latter is the only thing that makes me nervous.

 

hmcovert@gmail.com

 



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