March 22, 2009

My silent fan club

SOMEBODY ASKED the other day why so few readers leave comments in this blog. Well, there is a very good reason for that. I don’t suppose many readers realize it, but this column commands the respect of one of the oldest and biggest fan clubs in the world. It started many years ago when I was a newspaper columnist, with this letter from the founder and chairman:

Dear Sir, I write to inform you of the existence of the John Vigor Silent Fan Club, the main aim of which is not to write you fan letters.

This means you don’t have to answer them. Thus you may save your time to continue your noble task of pouring gems of wisdom (which flow so freely from your mighty pen) at the feet of the ignorant masses for their enlightenment and upliftment.

You may already be aware of the existence of your Silent Fan Club as, true to the constitution, not one of our many thousands, perhaps millions, of members has written to you. For instance, have you heard from the President of the U.S.A, lately? Queen Elizabeth? Philip or Charles? See what I mean? See how effectively the club operates — the discipline and strength of its members?

I know that you are fully aware of your rare genius and the stunning contribution which, in your typically selfless way, you are making toward the betterment of mankind throughout the world at large, but I’ll bet that your built-in modesty — always apparent in the truly greatest of mortals — has not allowed you to realize just how popular you are, or how large your silent fan club.

Still, as chairman of the club, I am not satisfied that it is yet the biggest of its kind in the world, which is the reason why I have, just this once, had to break the code of silence by writing to you.
Would you please publish my appeal for more members? I am sure there are many millions of people who will flock to the cause and agree not to contact you in any way to praise you. This is the only condition of membership, and there are no dues to be paid.

If you will do me this honor I can promise you that you will be basking in the silent admiration of countless fans from every country on earth — admiration for your sage-like utterances, your ready wit, charm, the subtle thrust and parry of your sparkling repartee, the wisdom, Solomon-like, from your princely brow.

Yours Humbly and Obediently,
(Chairman, John Vigor Silent Fan Club)

P.S. Please excuse the crayon — they don’t allow me to have anything sharp in this place.

WELL, that was the letter that started it all, and you can imagine how much the club has grown since. The Queen still hasn’t written, bless her royal heart. I believe that Dubya nearly succumbed but couldn’t find his pencil. And Angelina Jolie actually got as far as writing but was persuaded to tear up her letter before it was due to be mailed. Whew! Close call. It would have been awful to have to expel her from the club.

In conclusion, I must just say how wonderful it all is, and how encouraging to know that all of you out there are filled with silent admiration for this column despite the fact that nary a postcard of praise or an e-mail of ecstasy ever comes my way.

Well done, all of you. Such willpower. Such self-discipline. I salute you.

Today’s Thought
There are moments when silence, prolonged and unbroken,
More expressive may be than all words ever spoken.
—Owen Meredith, Lucile.

Yet another notice we noticed:
In the animal control waiting room:
“Back in 10 minutes. Sit! Stay!”


Bob K7ZB said...

Hi John,

Your latest post made me laugh... if you only knew what was really happening out here in your reader base you would be amazed, I suppose.

So here is what's been happening unbeknownst to you.

First, months ago I had decided to sell my Sabre 28. I admit temporary insanity struck me, even before the financial crisis struck me. But I had been having a guilty conscience about putting her up for sale when I came across your blog post in which you described your own angst about owning a luxury yacht in such perilous times. So I very cleverly cut your blog out and sent it as an original email to my wife (editing out the Cape Dory and putting in the Sabre). I never mentioned it to her, just sent it along and forgot about it. She sent me back an email (we both have offices in the upstairs of our home and email each other back and forth - weird, but after 36 years of marriage, it works)and simply said, "Well, YOU decided to sell it!" Immediately I changed my mind and decided not to sell her.

About two weeks later I was reading through your book on The Seaworthy Offshore Sailboat (this was after you replied to my comment on your blog about the prisoners email you were receiving) and came to the page that you described the most frightening experience you have ever had at sea - shining the light in the water while becalmed at night. I walked into my wife's office, sat down on the couch and said to her, "you need to listen to this" and proceeded to read the story. Now Kathy has been taking a creative writing course for fun (she writes wonderfully well anyway) and when I finished she remarked at how beautifully that had been written. I said, "That is by the same author that wrote that note about feeling guilty about owning a yacht during the financial crisis that I sent you." She said, "What?! I thought YOU wrote that and I was so very impressed that you felt so strongly about keeping your boat that I felt really bad about your selling her!" She had even told other women in her book club about it... alas, my 15 minutes of fame came at your expense, but the truth is out.

I then proceeded to buy your book "Small Boat to Freedom" which I am now reading and Kathy is waiting to read when I am finished.

All because of your blog.

sv Azure
Sabre 28
Lake Michigan

John Vigor said...

Bob, it is my unpleasant duty to expel you forthwith from the Silent Fan Club. You have broken the one and only rule by writing to me with words of praise. Sorry about that, but rules are rules and I hope that will teach you a lesson you won't easily forget.

Meanwhile, turning to other matters ... I am surprised to learn how I have influenced your life. It is a responsibility I never sought and never imagined. Nobody should take me seriously without my permission. There are severe penalties for that.

I'm flattered, however, that Kathy thinks I write good. I can write even gooder if I really try, but I have to say you're lucky to have a wife with such wonderful taste.

Best wishes to both of you,

John V.