Letters, calls, and the roar of the crowd:
Mary Fogarty Torpey, Baltimore: I am enclosing a copy of both my Baltimore City property tax bill and my letter to Mayor Schmoke, in which I state:
"As you can see, the enclosed bill is addressed to Michael K. Torpey & WF. There is no one residing at that residence, or on the deed to the property, known as WF.
"I was of the impression that in 1990 in Baltimore City a woman could hold property in her own name. I am a joint owner of this property and would appreciate being addressed as such."
The quarterly water bill is also addressed in the same manner. I am truly appalled in this day and age, Baltimore City regards me as only a chattel of my husband's and not a joint property owner in my own right.
I hope that you will address this issue in your column. I am sure that I am not the only woman who feels insulted by this slight.
COMMENT: Actually, I think this may be a blessing in disguise. As long as the city insists on treating you in such an insulting manner, you should respond in kind. So instead of paying your taxes, just write on the bill: "NO WF HRE. GT SMBDY ELS TO PY."
Mitchell J. Keeney, Hanover, Pa.: Your constant badgering of hunters has provoked me to respond. I am particularly upset with your statement: "The real trouble is that nearly everything seems to look like a deer to a deer hunter."
Such an erroneous statement as this indicated to me the depth you will go to damage the great sport of hunting.
COMMENT: I am sorry. I should have said: "The real trouble is that nearly everything seems to look like a deer to a deer hunter except when they look like turkeys to turkey hunters."
As evidence, I reprint the following article which appeared in The Sun Nov. 1:
"FRANKLIN, Pa. (AP) -- A hunter was charged yesterday with accidentally killing a man he mistook for a turkey.
"Game wardens said the victim, Charles Boyer, was crouching near some bushes and calling turkeys when he was shot in the forehead.
"Mr. Boyer wore clothes with blue-gray patches that resembled turkey heads, said Lorraine Yocum, a law enforcement supervisor for the state Game Commission.
"Turkey hunters in the state aren't required to wear bright orange because it alerts the birds," Ms. Yocum said.
"Since Pennsylvania's small-game season opened Saturday, three people have died in turkey hunting accidents, the Game Commission said."
The death of a human is far worse than the death of an animal, and I take no pleasure in reporting on the deaths of hunters. But you've got to ask yourself two things, Mitchell:
Why would anybody leave the house to go turkey hunting dressed as a turkey? And why is it we call animals dumb?
Jerry Schloss, Baltimore: If you have the time, let's talk about watches. My wife, Bernice and I were in Tokyo downtown. Tokyo is a no-win city. Talk about lost. Nobody knows where you are. Hirohito never left the Palace. Even he knew he couldn't find his way back. I saw Americans stuck on street corners who had been there since Prohibition. Did they need a drink.
Suddenly I saw a familiar sign. "Ritz." I knew Eddie Ritz from home. Could that really be him or was it a Japanese mirage or an optical illusion. I gathered up my strength, took off my shoes and sashayed in. There were cameras by the lenses, wrist fulls of watches. How about that. A Jobber's Jobber with prices that were wind boggling.
I cannot mention manufacturers, but it begins Seiko-. I bought it right there. Today it is only 40 percent less. But that's inflation. It's a different war. I have only taken the watch off in six years to batterize. I have dropped it more times than an Englishman his "aitches."
So, obsolescence set in to beat the band. I'm sorry, that is carrying the Bataan too far. It was harder to close a 3rd mortgage on my house than the clip on the band. This model was the "sayonara." It is only made for the home consumption, and they should have it.
It is not kosher for use in any country of the U.N. I love the watch, I could go back to Tokyo. I have feelings about our mail. But I know in my heart, that Seiko doesn't know where the factory is downtown.
I have several choices. I can rob a bank. But that is so prosaic. My worst choice is I have to take my wife. Luckily, I have several rolls of flypaper from my grandmother's estate and I am going to hang in there.
That was a Big Windup.
COMMENT: I present Mr. Schloss' letter as an example of what can happen to people when they try humor at home without the proper supervision.
I know that humor looks easy. And when you pick up your favorite morning newspaper and find it filled with zany, madcap humor, you are tempted to try it on your own.
But remember: We are professionals.
Today, Mr. Schloss is resting comfortably at the Rich Little Home for the Completely Unfunny in Frostburg. I am happy to say his prognosis for a complete recovery is excellent.
So this holiday season when the whole family comes over and you wish to be funny to impress them, please try to start small.
Practice this in front of a mirror:
Guy comes up to me on the street the other day and says: "I haven't eaten in two weeks!"
So I say: "Force yourself!"
Thank you. You've been a wonderful audience. G'night!