Tis Pity He's a Writer

Richard Daybell – Novels, stories and short humor

Dear Writer, We’re Accepting Your . . .

The following is the first piece of writing I sold to a major publication. It appeared in the Sunday Arts and Leisure section of The New York Times back shortly after the dawn of civilization. It’s a tad dated, but then so am I.nyt

Sure It’s a Wasteland,

But It’s a Safe Wasteland

Nielsen ratings are the eternal truths of television, but they could reflect more about our society than just viewing habits. In fact, if we could see beyond the raw statistics, we might see more reflected than we ever imagined. Take, for example, the following dialogue between a couple who could easily be one of those rare Nielsen families.

“What’s on now?”

“’Marcus Welby’ – but it’s a rerun.”

“Say, why don’t we take in a movie downtown?”

“I don’t think so. You never know who you’re going to sit next to in those places.”

“That’s true.”

“And Aunt Wilma was attacked coming out of a movie just two weeks ago.  A Walt Disney movie, at that.”

“Well, we’re really not sure of that. The man claimed he just accidentally bumped into her and she let him have it with her tear gas pen. What else is on?”

“Here’s a movie – ‘The Wizard of Oz’.”

“Again? I’ve got an idea. Why don’t we go down to the pub and have a few drinks? Maybe even dance a little.”

“Are you joking? Didn’t you read about the man who shot up a bar just because he got a whiskey sour when he ordered a Scotch and soda? But look here, the ‘Miss Hemisphere Pageant’ is on.”

“Wasn’t that on last week?”

“No, that was the Miss Cucumber contest.”

“Why don’t we go into the city to a fancy supper club?”

“No, I’d have to dress up and there’s all those tolls and – say, I just remembered – wasn’t it about a year ago that a toll booth operator shot a motorist who tried to give him a Canadian quarter?”

“You’re right. And I really don’t dare park the car in town. I just put on brand new tires last week. And with our luck we’d pick the spot where some gangster was having a birthday party. What’s on the educational station?”

“A discussion of ‘Mill on the Floss’ – it’s a book.”

“Well, suppose we go sit outside under the stars?”

“No, I really don’t think it’s safe out there in the dark. Not without Fang.”

“Good old Fang.”

“He was a good watchdog.”

“Yes, he was. Until they stole him.”

“Well, I think we’ll just leave it tuned to ‘Marcus Welby’. There won’t be any surprises, but we’ll enjoy it.”

“All right, dear.”

“Oh, I hate to bother you now that you’re comfortable, but did you remember to raise the drawbridge?”


5 comments on “Dear Writer, We’re Accepting Your . . .

  1. Kenton Lewis
    March 14, 2013

    Good writing, Richard.


  2. elroyjones
    March 14, 2013

    “There won’t be any surprises but we’ll enjoy it.” Superb.


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