Letters, calls and the roar of the crowd:
H. L. Suprine, Baltimore: I think your column of 8/16 was most disgusting. And what does it say about you personally? Your column should be relegated to the back pages, if not discontinued entirely.
COMMENT: I write nearly 200 columns per year, many of which are disgusting, and I cannot be expected to remember them by date.
It is therefore important for letter writers to let me know which disgusting column they are talking about.
I admit this is often not easy. If you can't figure out what the subject of the column was, try summarizing the first paragraph.
If you can't summarize the first paragraph, or if you are unable to read that far into the column, chances are I thought the column was disgusting, too, and already agree with you.
Carolyn D. Lyons, Catonsville: Although you may see Pee-wee's behavior as perfectly acceptable, there are some experts in the field of psychiatry who would consider it deviate. There are also psychiatrists who would say his behavior might lead to perversion and to the ultimate tragedy of injury to himself or others.
COMMENT: I have no doubt that you could find a psychiatrist to say just about anything. But if touching yourself leads to perversion or ultimate tragedy, I'd say the world is in big, big trouble.
That's because every survey I have seen indicates there are an awful lot of people out there who have touched themselves at one time or another.
Many of them, I am told, have not gone crazy. And a few haven't even grown hair on their palms.
Anne R. Valenti, Glen Burnie: I am six months pregnant with what is, as far as I know, a healthy fetus. However, if the need would arise for termination of this pregnancy, I would be grateful for having the right to decide for myself whether to have an abortion.
COMMENT: Just who the heck do you think you are? Who says you get to decide? Surely it makes much more sense to let a mob of strangers in Wichita, Kan., decide for you. And while they're at it, let's have them decide for every woman in America. Those people in the mob sure seem to have plenty of time on their hands.
Irvin Spivack, President, Spivack Advertising, Pikesville: Please tell me who to contact at the Baltimore Orioles office. I'm very interested in purchasing the team.
I figure once Barry Levinson and Boogie Weinglass purchase the Orioles, during the seventh-inning stretch we'll get to see some Hollywood stars. Or maybe they'll interrupt the game and talk to us about the "Diner" days.
Now, Jack Luskin and his nephew Stephen L. Miles have discussed publicly the purchase. I can see it now! Every time one of our Orioles hits a home run, the DiamondVision, now in the shape of a refrigerator, opens up and a gavel comes down and the announcer says: "Let's talk about it."
What a joke. As the owner of an advertising agency, I can't believe I didn't jump on the publicity bandwagon. Isn't it a shame that people need that constant exposure to keep their egos flying? Maybe we'll get lucky and find someone who is really interested in buying the Orioles and putting his money where his mouth is.
COMMENT: I doubt it. It is so expensive to buy a major league franchise these days that few except the super rich can afford to tie up their money that way. All the guys you named in your letter are doing very nicely. None of them is super rich or even near it. None of them is in the league of an Eli Jacobs, the current Orioles owner, who mildly speculated some weeks ago that he might sell the team in order to give himself more time for reading.
My prediction is that when all is said and done and the new ballpark opens, Jacobs will keep the team and just hire someone to read to him in his sky box.
Charles E. Morgan, Baltimore: In your column on air traffic controllers, you went on to say that the average salary of a baseball player is $180,000 a year and they went on strike and nobody hated them.
Let me make it perfectly clear to you I think baseball players stink and I for one hate them and will not watch any game even if it is on TV and free.
COMMENT: You think you're angry now? Hold onto your hat. As I said in the column, that $180,000 figure was what the average baseball player was making 10 years ago, at the time of the air traffic controller's strike.
Today, the average major league salary exceeds $890,000 a year.
But I think you are suffering from what a friend of mine calls "old anger." He believes that if you are angry about something for more than a year, you should just let it go and not let it eat you up.
Baseball players do make a whole lot of dough. But so do rock stars and orthodontists, and who would you rather be stuck in an elevator with? Axl Rose, your orthodontist or Cal Ripken? Me, I'd go for Cal every time.
In any case, Charles, try to do what I do: Get rid of your old anger so you can make room for new anger.