CR2S has an opinion on the whole palette of public concerns (re: Social Security, Palestine, economy, Irvine 11, joblessness, USC/UCLA football) but we refrain from discussing them for a reason: Mainly, who cares what I think about such divisive subjects?
Jack Smith, the undisputed icon of Los Angeles columnists, once told me the formula to writing success was to entertain simply and honestly (while swimming sideways with a martini in his left hand.) Art Ryon, a hard-drinking L.A. Times columnist of an earlier era (“Ham on Ryon”), cautioned to neither depress nor repress, but to always impress. Fredrick Coonradt III, my USC J-school advisor, introduced me to his Mount Washington neighbor Smith and vodka (in reverse order) as well as cautioning me that journalism and Japaneseness wasn’t exactly a winning combination in the ’50s.
Which explains a tendency to steer clear of controversy (and name-dropping) whenever feasible; the responsibility to entertain and educate overshadowing any desire to abuse the spotlight of a byline for selfish reasons, i.e. self-aggrandizement, slanted views, outright fibs. In simple terms, CR2S is an Independent (sort of) who isn’t exactly enamored by knee-jerk liberals or Tea Party righties. On the other hand, I can’t help but be dismayed by the rhetoric that makes Social Security a retirement savings program when in fact it is an insurance plan. Also I’m dumb enough to wonder why prisoners can’t be used as farm hands (cruel and unusual punishment?) and who determines what work “Americans are unwilling to do.”
So you can see why I find it prudent to be a wiseacre rather than a wisea– (impudent.) There is a time and place for a William Buckley as well as a Will Rogers. Not to forget Willie Mays and Mosconi or Will.i.am. What was Shakespeare’s first name?
How embarrassing to find a stack of unopened mail, probably lost in the transition from there to here. One that traveled from Montgomery 60538 (Alabama?) to Rafu office to Hicks Avenue deserves attention. And what the hey, Mike Oshita deserves a shout-out regardless of CR2S’s ambivalence in identifying correspondence by name or initials. A reader that far away who makes the effort to answer an open-ended column question deserves to be identified.
In a July 20 paean to the world champion Japan women’s soccer team, I wondered aloud what Homare Sawa’s first name might translate to. According to Oshita, it means honor, praise, distinction, glory and fame. How appropriate and glad I asked. He concludes: “Even in the boonies we subscribe to the Rafu; since 1968.”
And then there is C.T.K., who had the temerity to ask CR2S for help in his dealings with the DMV; the equivalent of asking Bill Mauldin to draw a cartoon about four-star generals. I proceeded to give him sage (sic) advice regarding hard-headed driving evaluators and hard-hearted graders. His poignant return note read: “Thank you so very much for so kindly revealing to me the Golden Rule for making the backup maneuver … I shall adhere to your instructions to the letter and hope it works like a charm. My wife and I will be ever grateful to you … as I go to the DMV … thank you again for your warmhearted, humane letter.” —CTK
Another reads: “I continue to enjoy your column and follow the changes in your life … Anyway, you were once in isolation, so this can be a good thing for you with so many people around to meet, bounce off of, and get stimulated by. Maybe even a new love? … (y)ou sound very gregarious from your writings, not so in person? Anyway, good luck with everything. – G.A. (A Rafu columnist?)
I’m hoping I didn’t launch a new version of Stump the Dummy by revealing an interesting inquiry last week—the lady who asked CR2S to come up with an original thought, one that had never seen the light of print—ever. My response might not have been satisfactory (the question was: How many canisters of Brut will last me a lifetime?) but I’m sure it fell in the category of an original thought. So, as sure as UCLA will lose another football game, a second challenge arrived: “Ask me a question I’ve never been asked in my entire lifetime,” demands a macho E.M. [Much too easy, I muse:]
“When you stand at the toilet bowl, why do you sometimes flush prematurely?”
[Vow Redux: No more political/religious/bodily function commentaries.]
W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached by email. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.