McLemore – British use of letter 'V' suggests room for others (7-25-41)

The Pittsburgh Press (July 25, 1941)

Henry McLemore’s viewpoint –

How about an R for movie roamers, or a big D for all cafeteria dawdlers?

By Henry McLemore

New York –
With the ‘V’ plan the British have adopted to break Nazi morale working so well, this country should not allow the other 25 letters of the alphabet to go to waste.

We should quickly conscript A, B, C, D, E and the rest of them and put them to work against the minor forces of evil in our own country.

There are many standard annoyances in our land and what better way to stamp them out than to stamp those responsible for them with an identifying label?

Consider the parking space pirate, that smirking fellow who appears to drive aimlessly around the streets waiting until you decide to park, and who then slips into the available space, just ahead of you. What a satisfaction it would be to wait until he had left his car and then chalk a big ‘P’ (for pig) on the back of his auto.

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Like a mouse in a maze

The cafeteria dawdler is another pest who has no more place in society than a dog prisoner. You know the type. He gets his tray and starts down the line with the indecision of a mouse in a maze.

He studies each item of food as if he had never seen it before. The simplest plate of lettuce fascinates him and such ordinary dishes as roast beef or chicken a la king hold him spellbound for minutes.

Wouldn’t it be nice to out a big ‘D’ for dawdler on his back in the hope that he would eventually wake up to the fact that he is not supposed to be quite as leisurely in a cafeteria as in an art museum.

A two-foot flypaper ‘R’ would be suitable for passing on the backs of a large group of Americans who are movie roamers. They are the ones who never like any of the first five seats they try in a movie.

And then they shift

They tramp around, back and forth, over your fet. They sit directly in front of you for a while and then shift one seat to the left. Then, as if some invisible quarterback were calling signals, they move over a couple of seats to the right.

Then there is the man who is always ahead of you in the line at a ticket window in a railroad station. The simpler the ticket you want the less time you have to catch a train, the more complicated is the ticket he is after.

He settles down in front of the window, puts both arms on the ledge, and begins to quiz the seller as to the quickest route to some spot a thousand miles away.

I wish someone would tell me why, in this age of efficiency, railroads still sell tickets just the way they did when wood burning locomotives roamed the hills.

Since Casey Jones’ time, ticket-sellers have had to scamper to odd-looking booths, pull out endless bits of pink and green and yellow papers, punch them all together, and write seemingly hundreds of little hieroglyphics somewhere on them, until you finally end up with a ticket approximately the same length as your trip.

’I’ for Inconsideration

The buyers of these long-winded tickets should get the letter ‘I’ plastered on them for inconsideration for not letting the short trip ticket seekers go ahead of them.

The railroads should get the same letter ‘I’, only theirs would stand for inefficiency in not thinking up some system whereby a man wanting to buy a ticket to a neighboring town wouldn’t have to stand in line behind a gent who wanted one to Nome, with a side trip to visit his uncle in Key West.

These are just a few of the letters of the alphabet that I think could be put to good use. You probably have a lot of your own you’d like to stick around, including one for my back.

I’d rather not have you tell me what letter it is. I’d rather guess.

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