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.
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!”