If you've read my previous letters to Jon Carroll, you should know all about him, so I won't repeat myself. If you haven't, then read them! Since I've become a Father, I've learned the value of feedback in modifying behavior. Or in this case, reinforcing good behavior. Of course, sometimes I just can't help myself, so I tried to provide some positive reinforcement along with a diatribe on a pet peeve. But after you read the letter, I'm sure you'll agree with me that I make a very important point.

Subject: Praise, plus how to help our children

Dear Jon,

I really enjoyed your piece "My visit to America", almost as much as your "Lady Memphis" piece, which was a tour de force, a triumph (all right, those are just a couple of overused, presumptious ways of saying I really really liked it, a whole lot, yep yep, it was g o o d). My only complaint, and I hesitate to even bring it up, since it detracted for no one but me, is the word "firefly". I know, I know, this is a perfectly good word, used appropriately, but I have a one man crusade (should I be worried that I have way too many one man crusades, or is that just a sign of crusading greatness?) against the word firefly. I think we should all use the word "lightning bug" (oh all right, two words). I'll let you in on a little secret, and that is I live in St. Louis, where we have lightning bugs, and lightning, and bugs, and flies, and fire, and the lightning bug in no way resembles either a fire or a fly. It in fact clearly flashes like lightning, and looks just the way you imagine bugs to look. That is why I prefer lightning bug. The name is appropriate, unlike firefly, which gives you the wrong idea about the insect altogether.

Why is this important you ask? Why bring your pet peeves to me you ask? Do I look like someone who cares about pet peevery, you ask? Well Jon, I don't bring this up for me, no, its for the Children, Jon. It's not for my sake, but for theirs. You're for the Children, aren't you Jon? You wouldn't want to do anything to hurt them, now would you? You want their little minds to develop properly, don't you? You wouldn't want to fill their precious little heads with foolish notions like there's this insect in the Midwest that is like a fly on fire, would you Jon? Mislead them like that, that wouldn't be right at all, would it? No, you want to put them on the straight and narrow course, the course that teaches them properly, that there is this insect in the Midwest that flashes like lightning, and looks just like a bug.

I knew once I explained this, you'd see it my way. You see now just how important this is, don't you? I just know you love Children as much as I do, and that as an Important American, you will do what's right for our little dears. Yes, I can rely on you, Jon. Thanks ever so much for taking time in your busy schedule to listen to me. I know it seems like such a small thing, but we both know that it's these little small things that add up to Important things, things like the mental health and well being of our Children.

Kevin Murphy

PS Dustin never has gotten back to me about the live streaming snoring opportunity. I hope you realize that we're sitting on a gold mine here, and that we have to move fast if we don't want someone else to steal this idea, and take the bread right out of our mouths. You don't want that, do you Jon? Someone to take the bread right out of our mouths?

PPS I hear Dustin is, well, hard to work with. Is this true? Is he just being difficult about this, and needs me to make the first move? He isn't like those rock stars who need a bucket of blue M&Ms before he'll talk to you, is he?

And Mr. Carroll's reply, which is consistent with his other replies in it's brevity:
You're a man on a mission. I understand that.

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This page last updated 31 August 1998

Contents copyright Kevin Murphy 1998. All rights reserved.