Today's writer has insisted we not print his original letter to Aunt Sophie, in order to maintain his anonymity. Below is her response. -- The Editors.
Yes, your insistence that I not publish your letter does make my job a little harder, but I know you’ve been nursing a broken ego for the last five years, so I don’t begrudge the sacrifice. I certainly do understand that your friends, such as remain, might be inclined to tease you for having written to me. However, I must warn you that no matter how careful I am not to divulge too much about you in my answer, there may still be some very clever folks who will be able to discern your identity.
Anyone would find it stressful to be held up to ridicule day after day, so you shouldn’t be ashamed of these feelings, but surely you realize that most speakers who use a microphone to address crowds of like-minded people do not find it necessary to scream at them, the notable exceptions being a rabid non-practicing physician from Vermont and a certain disreputable Austrian corporal. The problem with your vocal chords would best be addressed by a good ENT man. (Fortunately, your old boss’ wife’s health care extravaganza never panned out, so it shouldn’t be hard for you to find the best in that field. Isn’t the free market wonderful?)
Of course you were disappointed when you learned that your TV project had been put on indefinite hold but it must have occurred to you that the spectacular non-success of that red, white, and blue radio station – you know, the one with the other Al (no, not Sharpton, the other one) – would make some people re-think the kinds of projects they underwrite.
Since you have asked me to be honest, I feel compelled to tell you that I do not think the content you describe would be an automatic grand slam. Twenty-four hours of programming about the perils of global warming lacks sufficient variety to attract a diverse audience. Interviewing forty professors from forty universities about their unique slants on greenhouse gases isn’t the kind of thing most people think of as a mini-series, and the production dealing with the increased difficulty of cheese culture in the Auvergne since the invention of the internal combustion engine also sounds like a bit of a snooze. While we’re at it, you ought to reconsider some of the names of your programs. “Turbine Legends: Stories of the Heroes Who Maintain America’s Wind Farms” isn’t likely to siphon off much audience from “Barnaby Jones” reruns and besides, it’ll probably set off a copyright infringement suit from the good folks at CAIR who are reportedly shopping “Turban Legend: The Life and Times of Osama bin Laden.”
I think the only way you could grab the audience share you’re after while still getting your point across would be to present reality programs with a strong global warming slant – you know, show people whose SUV’s have flipped over in crashes clawing at the windows of their vehicles as the flames lick their feet, or install twenty good-looking but foul-mouthed young people in a house in Maine that has no heat because there are no more trees to cut down because they were all swept away by the tsunami that followed the Canary Island mudslide triggered by hurricane Zebra, which was directly caused by the superheating of the Atlantic Ocean one day after the Fourth of July when every single American over the age of fourteen grilled a steak. Re-think your programming along these lines and you may have some luck finding another angel.
Although you probably won’t believe this, you should thank Gaia you weren’t in charge when Katrina hit. While the people of New Orleans undoubtedly would have appreciated something to take their minds off the chaos surrounding them, the day after would definitely not have been the right time to screen “The Day After” at the Super Dome.
While it is undeniably stressful to have to stand by and watch someone else do the job you’d wanted to do, that is no reason to overeat. There are many diet centers where you could enroll under an assumed name and with a little perseverance I’m sure you could trim that midriff surplus in no time. A gastric by-pass is not necessarily the way to go, and no, I don’t think the federal government should pay for it, even if it does have the desirable effect of decreasing the number of obese people in America.
Lots of people don’t win the lottery, Al. Mostly they just go buy another ticket. It’s been five years. Time to MoveOn.
Good luck and God bless.
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