Friday, October 07, 2011

923 Ghost Writer

923 Ghost Writer

We received the following email this morning, here quoted in its entirety and without comment:

Dear Sir,

Allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Harold.  That’s my last name, not my first, and I want you to know that I’m the man for whom the Long Island Railroad named the Harold Interlocking in Sunnyside, Queens, originally called the “Harold Avenue Interlocking.”   I want to clear up some mysteries and have chosen Gmail to do so, as will become clear to you.

No one has ever managed to locate Harold Avenue on a map.  No historian, no cartographer, city planner or archivist.  No one.  There’s a reason for that.  All traces of it vanished when I died, which was on October 31, 1903.  I am a ghost and so is my street.

For most of the last 108 years, I had lived in the “Harold Tower,” as it once was known.  When the thing was rebuilt, I was ejected.  That was 1987 and I’m still pretty annoyed.  I have since moved on to a car dealership on Northern Boulevard, easy transmuting distance from the rail yard where I still hang out.

The auto guys know I’m there and tolerate me.   I tolerate them.  It’s a nice arrangement.   But when I first moved in, I had a lot of explaining to do.

First, they thought the place was haunted.  Yep.  That’s me.  Then there was a big fight about whether there’s such a thing as ghosts in the first place.  They brought in some “researchers” with their stupid electronic contraptions and tried to find an energy source.  Well, you should know, ghost energy cannot be measured.   But just to make them feel welcome, I set off some of the alarms in the cars on the lot, tooted some horns and made sparks using the car batteries and some wires I found in the repair shop.

It was funny as hell watching these geeks scurry around with shocked looks on their faces.  And since they craved to believe, I gave ‘em a good show.   Then, in came a crew from the TV program about finding ghosts and even more fancy electronic contraptions. So I opened up the Coke machine on the sales floor to give them a blast of “mysterious” cold air.  But I refused to set off the alarms and toot the horns.  Screwed with their heads!

Every once in awhile, I’ll get into the rail tower, which now is automated, and fool around with some of the track switches.  Your train to Jamaica winds up in Boston?  That’s me!

But after all these decades, the whole routine is getting old.

The other night, after the Mattress store on Queens Boulevard closed for the evening, a bunch of us held a meeting there.  No reason not to be comfortable during a bull session, and what’s more comfortable than 200 unoccupied mattresses under one roof?

We decided people were a pain in the ass but couldn’t decide on whether to escalate or ignore.  Since passing takes a ⅔ majority and neither side had one, we took no formal action.   But we’ll meet again on Halloween and after all the lobbying and horse trading that’s been going on, there’s sure to be a ⅔ vote one way or the other this time.


PS.  Thanks to the Ghost Riders in the Sky for the horses we traded.


--Remembering Steve Jobs, Apple Computer co-founder, tech marketing innovator and great character who died this week at the age of only 56.  Jobs proved that a good gut is still the best route to commercial success.  Without consulting surveys and spreadsheets and focus groups, he knew what we wanted, sometimes before we did,  and he made sure we could have it.

--NBC’s smartest decision so far this season: Cancelling “The Playboy Club,” a drama so dismal and boring even guys with bunny fetishes couldn’t stand to watch it.  Three episodes was 2.7 too many.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2011

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