Author’s Note: Mom + Pop Culture are a couple of real characters. They could be you and me. Or not. Every so often, I eavesdrop on their conversations. Let’s listen in on what they’re saying right now about Pop’s penchant for writing Letters to the Editor…
MOM: Whatcha doin’ there, Pop?
POP: Writin’, Mom.
MOM: Writin’ what?
POP: A letter to the editor.
MOM: Not again.
POP: What “again?” I write only one a week.
MOM: Thank heaven for small favors.
POP: You are most welcome.
MOM: And they publish every last one.
POP: Of course. Why shouldn’t they?
MOM: Oh, I don’t know. Maybe because it’s the same old whine in new bottles.
POP: Mom, it’s like advertising.
MOM: How so?
POP: Repetition is the soul of advertising. Same with letters to the editor.
POP: If I keep pounding the same drum every week in my letters, sooner or later someone somewhere is bound to pay attention to me.
MOM: If you need attention, go get a Lhasa Apso.
POP: What kind of disease is that?
MOM: Never mind.
POP: I never do. Anyhow, it ain’t attention I crave. It’s action. It’s new blood in town hall. Sooner or later, these letters will make a difference.
MOM: Don’t bet the farm on it, Pop. From what I hear out there, your letters are not taken all that seriously.
POP: Says who?
POP: People who?
MOM: People I talk to.
POP: Those people are not my people.
MOM: Pray tell, who might your people be?
POP: You know who they are.
MOM: Yes, I do. They are the Outs. And this is the silly season, so it’s time for the Outs to attack the Ins.
POP: It’s the American way.
MOM: Oh, sure it is. Because there’s just not enough nonsense in the world, let alone in our little corner of it.
POP: Tell that to the mayor and her council majority. Clueless, all of ‘em!
MOM: They’re duly elected. They’re public servants.
POP: Exactly. Which means they put themselves in the line of fire of toxic taxpayers like me.
MOM: I get it. They’re not your party, so you’ll cry if you want to.
POP: Cute, Mom. Big guys don’t cry. We pick fights.
MOM: I love you, Pop, but writing letters that criticize them personally? Not very helpful, love. You don’t even know them.
POP: I know enough to know I don’t want to know them. Not my people.
MOM: Instead of writing your weekly version of hate mail, run for office. That’s how you make a difference.
POP: Ha! Who needs that kind of headache? All the cranks out there you have to deal with… people accusing you of stuff that’s untrue, poking around your private life… writing ridiculous letters to the editor… no, thanks.
MOM: I hear you. Did you hear you? I wrote it down in case you didn’t.
POP: Fine. Let me get back to ripping the mayor a new one in this letter to the editor.
MOM: Whatever makes your day, darling. At this point, I don’t know why the paper doesn’t just give you your own weekly column.
POP: That’ll never happen.
MOM: Why not?
POP: Because a reader writing a letter can get away with a lot more easily than a columnist with malicious innuendo and scurrilous allegations. The last columnist who tried to get away with that was shown the door.
POP: Because it invites libel lawsuits, which publishers dread. So, yo ho, it’s a letters life for me!
MOM: In other words, during election season, the plat du jour is red herring.
POP: Yummy. Hey, I’m running out of crayon. Did you see my poison pen?
Bruce “the Blog” Apar is sole proprietor of public relations agency APAR PR and is a partner in Adventix, which helps performing arts venues increase ticket sales. He also is an actor, a community volunteer, and a contributor to several periodicals. Follow him as Bruce the Blog on social media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 914-275-6887.