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Twenty-Fourth Sort

Car talk, an empty inbox, and the PO.

by Dear Jon
February 15, 2001

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Twenty-Fourth Sort_Dear Jon-Car talk, an empty inbox, and the PO. Dear Jon:

I have a problem with the transmission in my car. For some reason, the stick does not move as easily to shift gears when my neck is cocked to my shoulder in order to talk on my cell phone. As I am right-handed, I normally have my neck cocked over my left shoulder, and the gear-shift works fine. It is only when I have my breakfast donut in my left hand, that I have this problem. What do you think it could be?

Sincerely, Motorist in Kenosha

Dear Kenosha: You have touched on a widespread problem with automobile design. The problem with cars, is that we landed a man on the moon 30 years ago, but we still expect people to use their hands and pay attention when they drive. Cars need to be built with a view toward modern convenience.

For example, since attention spans have now shrunk to 1.0065 seconds, we should be able to drive cars that get us to our destination in 1.0065 seconds. Failing that, one would think that with all the technology we have measuring brain waves, we would be able to design an "automatic intention gear." Simply have the car read our mind about where we want to go, and use the satellite locater system to put the car on automatic pilot until we get there. This would allow us to read the paper, eat breakfast, and talk on the phone, all at the same time, without paying any attention at all.

Until then, we have to use our hands and eyes and feet. What is this country coming to?

By the way, I think I may have seen you once on the road. That was Dear Jon giving you the "You're Number One!" sign.

Dear Jon:

I guess the gravy train of "actual letters" got derailed, huh?

Sincerely, a Dear Jon Fan too lazy to write a real one.

Dear Lazy: Yes, I guess so.

Dear Jon:

Since no one is writing to you anymore, do you think this might be a good time to make a plug for the "Partial Observer?"

Sincerely, Plugger

Dear Plugger: What a great idea! As you can no doubt tell, the Partial Observer is over-run by Angry White Males. The Partial Observer needs to be corrected from this perilous drift, by pulling in regular contributors who are either dames, ethnics, liberals, special interests or other minorities. Because we at the Partial Observer care about being sensitive to the broadest perspectives of the mainstream, family-sensitive, flag-protecting patriotism that all decent-living Americans have. Of course, not everyone at the Partial Observer is as sensitive as Dear Jon, but that's me; I'm just a knee-jerk bleeding-heart kind of guy. Why, I even have friends who are either dames, ethnics, liberals, special interests or other minorities! And I'm doing my best to put in a word for them at our board meetings.

So anyway, if you got something you need to whine about because our country isn't good enough for you, go ahead and become a columnist. We need you to keep us in the "middle." Just think, using Cyberspace will help you get your agenda out to the world, and saves those trees you like hugging so much.

Dear Jon:

All right, then. Will you be serious now and quit talking like a complete jerk?

Sincerely, Your PC Alter Ego

Dear PC: Nobody likes "Dear Jon" to be serious. They have been laughing at my advice since the first week. But all right. In all seriousness, the Partial Observer has too many too many Anglos, too many guys, and too many "Wilsons." In all seriousness, the vision of the "Webmaster" is that women and men of diverse heritage, diverse religious conviction, and diverse political opinion, would see the Partial Observer as a safe place to contribute their "partial" observations. The idea is that, from a multiplicity of "Partial Observations," something akin to a whole, like a collage or mosaic, will emerge, not as a consensus, but as a conversation. A lot of the intended diversity is represented among the Webmaster's own friends. So how about it, folks? Don't let your good friend's vision be hi-jacked!

Dear Jon:

I'm curious. In one column you sound like a paranoid Fascist, and in the next you sound like a flaming Pinko! So do you consider yourself a liberal or a conservative?

Signed, Curious.

Dear Curious: That depends on the time of month.

Dear Jon:

You just gone in trouble again.

Sincerely, A Warning.

Dear Warning: Yep. "Actual Letters" are much safer for me.

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