Letters, calls and the roar of the crowd:
Lisa Mahon, Richmond, Va.: I would like you to read the enclosed article taken from Richmond's "Style" magazine:
"Crimes of the Week -- Three teen-age boys were driving down Luck's Lane in Chesterfield County throwing cooked hot dogs from the back of their pickup truck at cars driving in the opposite direction. One of the cars was an unmarked police car driven by a Chesterfield police officer. The officer chased down the boys and arrested them. They were later released into the custody of their parents."
Just a glimpse of what they do for fun in Richmond. I desperately miss Baltimore.
COMMENT: I can see why. Nobody in Baltimore would be so goofy as to throw cooked hot dogs from the back of a pickup truck at passing cars.
We'd make sure they were frozen.
Brian Templeton, Seattle, Wash.: Like most people who write about drugs in America, you're ignoring the real issue. As expressed by Locke, Jefferson, Madison, J. S. Mill, O. W. Holmes and so many others, the basic principle of a free society is that until and unless a citizen infringes on the rights of others, what he does in private is no one else's business and certainly not the government's.
Ever since President Taft declared a war against drugs more than 80 years ago, we've been spending billions of dollars to violate the human rights of people. . . . And to what purpose? It certainly hasn't stopped anyone from using drugs.
COMMENT: OK, so we make drugs legal, and everybody can take whatever drugs they want. Does that include air traffic controllers? And school bus drivers? And the guy who fixes the brakes on your car? And the person coming down the highway at you at night?
Is it OK with you if they are all stoned out of their minds? After all, what they do "in private" can't possibly harm you, can it?
Not unless they happen to control the damper rods at the nuclear power plants around Seattle, that is.
Robert Colyear, Pacific Palisades, Calif.: Your recent article on [country clubs] is a childish and unjustified attack on Anglo-America. I really find your caliber of journalism extremely nauseating.
COMMENT: Anglo-America? I hate to be the one to tell you, Robert, but there hasn't been an "Anglo-America" since the war. The one in 1776, I mean. After that, we all became Americans. And I don't think Americans should discriminate against each other.
But even though I disagree with what you say, I will defend to the death your right to be nauseated.
Dr. Brown Thompson, Riverside, Calif.: I see your work in the L.A. Times and the Riverside Press and when you wrote about David Souter the other day, it was a real shock to find I did not agree with you.
COMMENT: This sometimes happens even among decent people. Thank goodness it does not happen often. But if after reading one of my columns, you find you do not agree with me:
1. Lie down and re-examine your life.
2. Ask yourself where you went wrong as a human being and what you can do to save yourself.
3. Wrap all your cash and negotiable bonds in a silk handkerchief and send them to me so I can take the curse off them.
Then take two aspirin and call anybody in the morning but me.
Frances Backman, Minneapolis, Minn.: Are you the Roger Simon that was born and raised in Fulda, Minnesota? Did you have a mother or a grandmom by the name of Marie Helvig and a father or grandfather by the name of Max? If so, I took care of your mom or grandmom when you were a little boy.
If you are the Fulda boy, I would like to hear from you.
COMMENT: Alas, I am not a Fulda Simon. I was going to lie and say I was and thank you for taking care of Marie Helvig, because I think taking care of other people is a very nice thing to do, but I looked up Fulda in the atlas, and it has only 1,305 people, and I am guessing everybody there knows everybody else, and so they would know right off I was lying.
But I think you should be thanked. So: Thanks.
I never thought Simon was that common a name until I began getting letters from people asking me if I was related to Paul Simon, the singer, which I am not, or Paul Simon, the senator, which I am not, or the guy who invented Simonizing, which I have been trying to convince the courts I am.
Albert Izer, Joppa: A few Sundays ago you wrote an article that had me laughing for a week. It was about people who could afford a lawyer but got a public defender to handle their cases instead. They are cheating, said the private lawyers.
Think about that: Lawyers, who are the world's best cheaters, complaining about being cheated. Very, very funny.
It was so cold one winter, I saw a lawyer with his hands in his own pockets!
COMMENT: Lawyer jokes really make me sick. Like this one, which was recorded in the 1700s and may be the first lawyer joke ever written down:
"An attorney in Dublin died exceedingly poor. A shilling subscription was requested to pay his funeral expenses. Most of the lawyers and barristers subscribed, and one of them applied to Judge McClannahan, expressing his hope that his lordship would also subscribe his shilling.
"Only a shilling?" said the judge. "Only a shilling to bury an attorney? Here is a guinea! Go bury 20 of them!"
I'm glad I'm not the kind of columnist who would pass along such things.