The Things We Say


For those of you outside the St. Joseph area, our local newspaper, the St. Joseph News-Press, always prints traditional letters to the editor. But they have another section titled It’s Your Call. People can phone in and state their opinions without leaving their name or number. It’s apparently very popular, or at least I hear people talk about it a lot. Maybe we enjoy reading opinions that are irresponsible. Here’s a sampling over the past ten days or so. I removed all the Trump/Clinton comments because I’m tired of hearing them. Nothing’s funnier than the truth:

“I sat down today, turned off all my electronic devices and anything that might disturb my concentration and tried to read the amendments as published in Wednesday’s News-Press. I gave up after an hour. Between all the legalese and the “if then” and “shall be,” I had no idea what they said. I have just decided to vote no on everything.”

 (If you understood the logic in that, let me know.)

“I’m all for sending humans to Mars. Let’s start with politicians and convicts.”

(I really don’t know what to think of this one.  I’d like to go to Mars, but not in that company.  I do think they’d get along well together, though.)

“Great job once again, city of St. Joe. We are going to do all that work on Mansfield Road where there are absolutely no people who would ever walk there, from 22nd to 16th Street Terrace. But from 16th Street on where all the houses get shook from all the heavy traffic that goes by there, you are going to do nothing. Awesome.”

(Are the houses “getting shook” from the foot traffic? Seeing that really would be “awesome.”)

“I read your paper every day for many, many years. Thursday’s front page had history of tractors. C’mon, Wikileaks has been dumping a ton of stuff.”

 (What does this writer have against tractors?  Tractors helped to build this country.  In my opinion, this country has waited far too long for an in-depth history on tractors. Why do we have to plow through Wikileaks when we have the Machinery That Built America right in front of us?  C’mon, let’s talk about what’s important!)

“I am calling about the dog shooting down there in Rushville. People, get your dogs on a leash. I don’t care if you are in St. Joe, Cameron or Rushville. Get your dog on a leash. It’s the law and it protects your animal, too. I think this case will prove it.”

 (This makes me think the writer is heading “down there to Rushville” with a gun. My dog Joe is lying quietly beside me as I type this. The leash is hanging in this room somewhere, but I don’t see it. We are not going outside for a week.)

“I find myself wondering very often, looking at all these young ladies in their 20s with tattoos all over their bodies, I often wonder whether or not when they get in their 40s and 50s if they are going to look into the mirror and say, “Why did I do that?”

(I find myself looking in the mirror and wondering the same thing.  And I don’t have any tattoos.)

“I just read the article on the Social Security increase. It said it’s going to be less than $4, but most people are getting $1,200 a month. There are people out there like me who get less than $800 a month. What does the cost of gas have to do with a cost of living increase? Food and everything else is going up, utilities, food, everything. It is getting tougher and tougher. You just can’t live off of this Social Security.”

(I didn’t see the original article, but aren’t gasoline and food and everything else what they mean when they say “cost of living?”  Maybe they’ve changed all that.)

“One of the biggest mistakes this nation has made is electronic voting machines. Hackers can get into anything they want, yet people are dumb enough to trust an electronic voting machine. Thank goodness where I vote, we use paper ballots.”

(Right, and you and I know we never had voter fraud issues with those good old paper ballots. I’m not a hacker, but I have a little experience in protecting against them. Hackers can get into anything they’re smart enough to get into, provided the guy on the other end isn’t smarter than they are.)

“I’m calling in regard to the unattended gardens at certain elementary schools. What is the lesson to be learned from establishing an enclosed, fenced-in garden and then never attending to it? Particularly at Parkway Elementary School, it is truly an eyesore. I guess the lesson could be salvaged is when there is no produce or vegetation you go in there and you clean it out.”

 (I found myself wondering why this person first said “certain elementary schools,” and then later ratted out Parkway.  Surely other schools have ugly gardens.  It took at least a day for this comment to appear in the paper. I’m guessing that “going in there and cleaning it out” would have taken a couple of hours. Why didn’t the writer just go over there and fix it?  Let’s get this hideous garden situation fixed.)

“With the city is spending all this money to fix streets and sidewalks in other parts of town, maybe they would like to fix South 22nd Street and put some sidewalks in. Maybe we would like to do some walking, too.”

(I think I can take a firm position on this. People who would like to do some walking ought to be able to. But I don’t want any houses “getting shook.”)

There’s a part of me that says opinions ought to have a name attached to them.  On the other hand, I suspect these things help to sell newspapers.  It doesn’t make it right, but I’ve had my share of laughs from reading these over the years. If you’re a citizen of my hometown, I hope you enjoyed this. If you were one of the “It’s Your Callers,” relax. I’m just having fun. You have to admit, though: it was better than reading about the election, wasn’t it?

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