Dear Present Lincoln,
I’m sorry I forgot to wish you a happy birthday the other day. But as you know, life sometimes gets in the way of best intentions. Let me first say that you look pretty good for your age which was 211 this week.
In recent years, people have put your years in office under a microscope with a 21st century bias and that’s not fair. You did things you believed in. And you were a politician who needed to kind of sidle up to the so-called Loyal Opposition when you did things like freeing slaves which made some citizens consider you the enemy.
But we mid 20th Century types have a completely different take on who you were and what you stood for -- and against.
Before the advent of the fake national holiday, Presidents Day, we in the real United States had a holiday directed directly named for you. And we celebrated it the way all real Americans celebrate, with flag-waving and its real world equivalent, sales.
People -- especially academics -- remember you for that seven minute speech you gave at the otherwise unimportant town of Gettysburg. It was pretty good, and this was in the age before speech writers and political scientists and other party hacks existed in the number they do today. All your own work? Probably.
Meantime, back in Commack, Long Island, we S. Klein slavvies were ready for the onslaught of customers on 2/12. We weren’t in a Confederate state, so Lincoln’s birthday celebrated a heroic figure … with big discounts.
The “normal” pace for live public address announcements was one every 15 minutes. Not this day. Every five or ten minutes.
Can’t write and deliver a credible commercial in that short a time. What would help? A typewriter. Could one be borrowed from Tony, the small appliance manager? No chance, At least not without the approval of someone higher in the food chain.
Starting at the bottom, the hardgoods manager and no luck. C’mon, guys, you want fresh announcements every five minutes? Give me the tools. Okay, next step up the corporate manager, the store manager.
“No way, handwrite the stuff.” Finally the “managing director,” a fan and a friend -- sort of. Tony the small appliance manager delivered it to the “broadcaster’s closet” personally.
“Don’t give this back to me,” he said. “Give it to the big shots.”
Pounded out copy as if it were the end of the world. World War III. And the powers that be liked that it seemed to work. Tony Small Appliances got his damned typewriter back at closing time. The announcer was a hero. The store exceeded estimates by a huge percentage. We all went across the highway to Kelly’s Bar and celebrated with the Cro-Magnon members of the Eastern Hockey League Long Island Ducks who won a game against … someone … at the Long Island Arena -- which was a Quonset hut … about half a mile away.
Lincoln was a hero. But not as big a hero as Irwin, who masterminded this sale of sales. Tony who provided the typewriter
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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