A MESSAGE from Ivor Tungin-Cheaque, Chairman of Vigor’s Silent Fan Club, says:
O Wise and Wonderful One:
Once again, a dilemma of considerable proportions has raised itself in regard to membership of your Silent Fan Club. As you well know, members are forbidden to contact you, or praise in any way your unmatched wisdom and unrivalled literary skills. Because membership is automatic from birth, you have the biggest fan club the world has ever known.
But a British commercial website has just rated your column one of the five best sailing blogs in the world.*
This is nonsense in one respect, of course, as everyone knows your blog is the best, not just one of the five best. Yet, considering the thousands of sailing blogs cluttering the world-wide web, being one of the best five is enough to cause a great deal of worry to those of us whose job it is to keep your club members silent, lest they should have to be expelled for contacting you and smothering you with unwanted praise.
In my own defense I have to say I have done a more-than-respectable job in this regard so far this year. President Putin has not contacted you. Prince Philip has managed to withhold his great admiration. Donald Trump never once mentioned you in Cleveland. And so on. I believe most of the credit for this remarkable success devolves upon me as I quietly slave away on your behalf — but I digress . . .
The publicity generated by your being publicly recognized as one of the best writers in the world puts the Silent Fan Club in a perilous position. It is obvious that if more people are exposed to your glorious prose, the greater the temptation will be to accord you generous praise. And, as you know, anyone who does that is automatically expelled from the club.
To avoid this highly undesirable circumstance, I must beg you once again to write dumber. That is, more dumbly. Please start toning down the cleverness of your columns and the skill with which you wield the editorial pen. If your fans find less to admire in your writing, the less likely they will be to give in to their instinct to burst into ill-considered praise. I realize that this will not come easily to a man of your exceptional talent but I believe it can be done with a large dose of steady application.
I close with admiration for your sage-like utterances, your ready wit and charm, the subtle thrust and parry of your sparkling repartee, and the wisdom, Solomon-like, that graces your princely brow.
Yours Humbly and Obediently,
IVOR TUNGIN-CHEAQUE (Chairman, Vigor’s Silent Fan Club)
PS: Sorry about the writing. My new strait-jacket is very stiff.
Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.
Thomas A, Edison, (Quoted in Golden Book, April, 1931)
Two blondes walked into a building and . . .
(Hell, you’d think at least one of them would have noticed it.)