and apparently he agrees

Letter from Clay Warren

Dialect – September 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

…and apparently he agrees


I don’t know whether or not to think that my unique style of commentary is under attack by common ridicule, or that imitation is really the sincerest form of flattery. In any event — and at the risk of alienating both of my faithful readers, one of whom had to go to Nevada to find work — I shall refrain from tempering my comments with dialect.

I mean, if you have to go all the way to the archives of the Town of Alma to come up with examples of spelling similar to mine, we obviously have a problem that spreads far beyond your Villa Grove correspondent (and his obvious reference to the Wicked Witch of the South) and that other one from metropolitan Cotopaxi.

In any event, the former Alma mayor’s letters were in a ragged eastern North Carolina flatland dialect, rather than proper, republican, (notice the small r) East Tennessean form. But I won’t quibble over details that only true cognoscenti of the genre would recognize. Alma has a poor record of treatment regarding former mayors anyway.

That subject having been dealt with up front, I am greatful to the Editors for the Erik Moore piece on Vicarians. Although I’m sure both you and he will come under attack from the forces of the hospitality industry, which is what we used to call boarding-house proprietors, as well as an entire slew of self-declared environmentalists.

Moore’s piece calls to mind that article about the steel worker who, with résumé in hand, approached Ronald Reagan in Pittsburgh. The President’s office subsequently helped the guy get one of those “high tech” jobs he’d been “retrained” for at government expense. But the steel worker promptly ditched his new career for a real job as soon as the mill reopened. It just shows that you can’t keep a good man down.

Even though Erik has been called Gonzo a time or two by a certain burro-chaser, I believe that his style reminds me much more of Twain (that tall handsome devil of last century literature), both with his increasingly similar appearance over time, and even more so with his written word. Maybe there is something to reincarnation after all. Perhaps Moore should be promoted to replace the current numbskull who hosts the local talk show. Monika G. would have an opinion about this, I am certain.

For years I have preached about the danger of glorifying burro-chasing through the pages of this magazine. It is now apparent that we have a classic case of what is called “blow back” in my former line of work, whereby knowingly distributed propaganda comes home to roost as reported fact. You have apparently succeeded in brainwashing your own flesh and blood. What is next? Perhaps an insider piece on the virtue of Gortex running shorts, or maybe a discussion of the tactical advantages of a fiberglass and Kevlar pack saddle over one of traditional wood and leather?

I could get more interested in this activity if they’d make them wear heavy boots and woolen clothes with union suit, put the load on the jackass, and let the burro run light. This would be more like the real world where prospectors didn’t have cotton and nylon clothing and every burro eventually — and without prior notice — bucks off his load protesting vocally all the while. Which happenstance leaves the picking up of scattered possessions to the guy on the other end of the lead rope, or contestant as some would say.

Your article about the golf course and the Salida city council is in keeping with that governmental body’s intense interest in the contents of the Poncha Springs sewer lines. I can tell them right now what is in there — and I don’t need a committee meeting to do so. If the Peter Principal states that: Everyone rises to their own level of incompetence; then Clay’s Theorem holds that: Politicians go the other way.

Sincerely yours until the State Fair opens, Clay Warren Pseudonymous in Poncha