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Views: Taking time to respond to 'fan mail'

I’ve been getting a lot of mail lately, and by a lot, I mean two letters and an email so far this year.

I call all of it “fan mail” although half of it would be more accurately described as “hate mail.” It’s all the same to me. Well, if I’m being honest, I prefer praise over criticism.

I like to respond to any mail I get, but I haven’t been able to lately. It’s not that I’m so pressed for time. I’m just out of stamps. So, I thought I’d answer all of the letters I’ve gotten here.

Dear Margaret, thank you for your letter of Jan. 11. I appreciate that you read my column although you missed my point entirely. No, I don’t believe that I’m an idiot, but, then again, if I am an idiot, would I know it?

You do make some interesting points. They’re completely wrong, but interesting.

No, I don’t expect everyone to agree with me. Some weeks, I don’t expect anyone to agree with me. Sometimes, I don’t even agree with myself. Today, I had a tuna salad sandwich for lunch, and even it didn’t agree with me.

Dear Nathan, thank you for your kind note. I realize your comparison to Dave Barry is meant as a compliment even though he is a silly nincompoop. I know he has many more readers than I do, and a lot more money, but ever since he joined the Lawn Rangers parade troupe in Arcola, which is the arch rival of my alma mater, I’ve been obligated to despise him. Plus, he has more money and readers, and I don’t care much for that.

Dear Susan, thank you for taking the time to write and for your words of encouragement. Knowing that people are actually reading this stuff makes me try a little harder.

Dear Alan, thank you for your recent correspondence. You’re absolutely right. I am an idiot. Margaret thinks so. You can’t all be wrong. No, I wasn’t born that way; I had to work at it really hard.

Dear Jennifer, thank you for your concern. I blame sleep deprivation. I do own a dictionary, but I’m not sure where it’s at. In answer to your question, no, I don’t actually get paid to write this stuff.

Dear Mark, thank you for your many, many suggestions. They are all good ideas. I especially like the one about going back where I came from, but they don’t want me, either.

Dear Bruce, no, I don’t make this stuff up. Except that line. I made it up. Everything I write is true as far as you know. Thank you for the note; it’s always good to hear from you.

Dear Alaina, thanks so much for writing and for the kind words. It made my day. I’m pleased that your parakeets seem to enjoy the column, as well. At least the paper is good for something.

Keep those letters coming. Even if you don’t agree with my occasional forays into politics, I’d rather be opposed than ignored.

• David Porter can be reached at

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