Friday, June 26, 2009

Ed Jackson's First Column

Note to Readers

Regular readers of this blog already know Ed Jackson, the prolific subscriber columnist and by many counts, "Mr. StarText" in terms of his influence and support. Dennis Brand was kind enough to send along a copy of Ed's first column, which appeared on StarText March 12, 1984. Dennis also notes Ed's original mail code - 135 -- was changed to 1125 in November when everyone was switched over to Version 3. Above is the only photo of Ed I have, taken at the Star-Telegram during a focus group meeting he attended.

From: Ed Jackson
E-Mail 135

A Dollar Short

Forgive the title. It means something special to me. For years I have read and admired the editorial commentaries in papers. I always thought `What great fun!' I daydreamed of writing such a column, and gave my fantasy piece the above title. It's the last half of the saying `A day late and a dollar short.' Since a written commentary is more likely to be about yesterday's news, rather than today's news, or tomorrow's forecast, it seemed like a good idea.... maybe a bit adolescent, but that daydream started a long time ago when clever (?) titles were fashionable.

Mr. Barker, our Editor-in-Chief of STARTEXT extended the invitation to me which would allow me to fulfill that dream. I jumped at the chance. While I have many things I'd like to talk about, and will, in future articles, I want to take this opportunity to let you all share my good fortune. You are all invited to send me YOUR views of current events, which I may quote, either giving you credit, or not, as you wish. You are also invited to send me criticisms, anecdotes, ideas for articles, ideas for directions you would like to see the column take... such as `More letters from readers.' or `How about creating a department for....'. You get the idea. Much as I like to speak my mind, and fully intend to use this space for my own personal soap box, I really would like all of you to get into the act too.

So you will know to whom you are addressing your comments, my resume is regrettably short and undistinguished. I graduated (escaped?) from Pascal (Then) High School, in 1948. This was back when Dan Jenkins played basketball, and Elston Brooks was the B.M.O.C. in the entertainment arts. If the do-it-yourself IQ tests have any cedibility, I am about `average'. I have been employed in the printing business for the last thirty-five years, twenty- five of which have been where I am now. Slow and steady wins the race has always been my motto. I haven't won the race, yet... but I'm still in there, running... trotting....well, sauntering. Even though my formal education ended with the diploma from P.H.S., fear not to write to me in whatever manner you choose. I have a half dozen dictionaries, and one is never far from my fingertips.

As soon as I found out this column was to be a possibility, and before I recieved any confirmation, I immediately set to writing things for future use. Since this effort is mostly introductory, I'll just pass along a few thoughts about a bit of news I read recently.

Did you read in STARTEXT the other night about the FCC's ruling on Dial-a-Porn? They refused to ban it. I have followed the stories about this... the outraged parents who received staggering phone bills, run up by their children. The church groups, who are striving to get them outlawed, and all the rhetoric about `Freedom of Speech' and `Free Enterprise.' I got to thinking about that, today, and it occurred to me that if it really went over, it might well lead to a very specialized service. We ARE in an age of specialization, and after all, all people do not react to the same words.

For instance, there could be a number for the intellectuals to call. The girl, between sexy, heavy breathing could murmur things like `Oh, Honey! I'd like to have a clandestine tryst with you.' (pant pant) `Just imagine, you and I,' (pant pant) `in illicit relations at our assignation...'

Some fellows are `turned on' by women who speak foreign languages. They could have a separate number to call. `Ahhh..mon cher..' she moans, `moi pettite saucisse, tu sui generis...' (pant pant) `enchante!' Yet another number could be used by the very rich clients. Their needs could be fulfilled with; `Tax shelter!' (pant pant) `Loophole!' (pant pant) `Hidden assets!'

What I had at first dismissed as downright silly suddenly took on a new dimension. Not wanting to condemn unfairly, I decided to give it a shot. I got this number, which I was told used REALLY dirty language. When I dialed, the woman's voice on the other end screamed at me `SCUM! (augh augh) SLEAZEBALL!' (huff huff) `FILTH! TRASH!...'

I hung up rather quickly. I wondered if maybe the FCC hadn't realized how far a thing like this could get out of hand.

One more time! My E-Mail code is 135. Please use it and share your thoughts, and my wonderful luck.