Rejected, 4-15-37

Please help identify Emmett...
Dear Emmett,

 I had hopes that I might challenge you to a tennis match, just for old timesí sake, but the idea of some public tennis courts here in Hamilton seems to have passed out of the picture. There was a rumor that we might have a ball diamond and some courts in the park. They found a level spot elsewhere, though, for the ball park; and as far as I know, we shall have to continue to impose on friends if we wish to wield a racket.

 But it is probably just as well, as far as you and I are concerned. For one set would be sufficient to make me stagger around with my tongue hanging out; and you would feel terribly embarrassed to display in public that ash-sifter you call a tennis racket. However, if you give your dubious word of honor that you will refrain from those sneaky little cut shots, Iíll take you on, ash-sifter and all, the winner to supply the ginger ale. And whatís more, Iíll guarantee to subtract at least four inches from your bulging waist line, stagger or no stagger. Hereís to the Battle of the Century!

 Now this would be a good place to stop, but if I am to maintain the dignity of the column it is scarcely enough. Just how Morton manages to tolerate the thing, anyway, is beyond me; but it is nobodyís funeral but his, if he continues to print it. But that is beside the point. The point is, Iím going to finish this letter with some stuff that isnít likely to interest you in the least. So please grin and bear it.

 Maybe I can hold your interest, on second thought, if I ask your advice as a journalist. For isnít the subtlest form of flattery asking ones advice? And, being flattered, arenít ones intellectual ears erect with interest? But giving unsolicited advice has the opposite effect: those same ears droop like those of a donkey when he is ordered to proceed, and he budgeth not. Now that is exactly my trouble: I am prone to give advice - most excellent advice - to the long suffering public. But you know, and I know that said public doesnít give two hoots for my advice. Well, here is where you come in. Will you kindly tell me what is the correct journalistic style when informing the public of the grave dangers confronting it; and when you realize your ideas are the only possible solution which will save it from utter destruction? Please give this your careful consideration, for I have observed hundreds of alledged advisers in the same boat; and my latest tabulation indicates that 99% of them cause drooping of the above-mentioned hypothetical ears before they get half way through. Isnít there some way of sneaking a point across without anyone suspecting it? Sounds kinda New Dealish, eh what?

 Now just suppose you wanted to put this point across. There is a popular belief that cutting down the forests of the Mississippi valley is the cause of excessive floods. You have heard that, of course, and no doubt it is a perfectly reasonable assumption. In fact it almost seems ridiculous to deny it. The idea has become axiomatic, almost a religious tenet. Now I come along and say maybe there is some doubt about it, because the greatest flood ever recorded at Keokuk occurred in 1851.  So I want your advice ever so much, Emmett. Donít you see that if I came right out and told the people that news for the good of their souls, they would sue the editor for libel, or something. And he is a hard working fellow, trying to make a living, like you and I; and I certainly wouldnít wish anything like that on him.

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