Letter to Editor #1

Our paper is boring and the letters to the editor tend to be a bit racist and right-wing, so I decided to make a strong effort to spice things up a little. This is the first of the letters I’ll be sending to the paper.

Dear Editor:

Let me be the first to admit what a delight I discovered the church bells to be when I returned to Red Bluff after a many-years absence. Even from as many blocks away as I am, the sound is clear and crisp. It was such a treat to sit out front in the evenings and listen to the last chiming of the bells with a beer in one hand and a bullhorn in the other to surprise the junkies as they tried to break into our cars.

Well, to be honest, the electronic bell tones.  But I’m not a bell snob, so whatever.

A year in, however, and the bells began to wear thin. Now, I have yet to catalog how many different songs we’re treated to in bell format, as I have an area education and can’t count past the three I know it plays, but the variety is…lacking, to say the least. And now, at 18 months, I will say quite firmly that I tire of the bells. Of their monotony. Of having no opt-out  box to check before Amazing Grace gets the bell treatment of muzak and piped down the relatively quiet streets of our beautiful Victorian town. They ring out above the smashing of car windows in the night, against the gentle whoosh of air from a slashed tire in the calm of the evening.

The bells. Always with the bells.

They’re invasive, to be quite honest. It is never pleasant to have somebody else’s ideals forced into the peace of your domicile, into your ears and mind. It’s become almost a Monty Python-esque sketch, at least within the walls of my home. Shouts of  “The bells are getting louder!” are not uncommon throughout the day.

I think I have an answer, however.

If the bells are going to be inflicted upon us day after day, it only makes sense that we, as a community, are granted input about the selection. I’ve invested a lot of thought into this, so hear me out:

We cannot ignore the fact that the bells, and their associated expenses and maintenance—belong solely to whatever that church over there is. Therefore, it stands to reason their own songs are allowed a stronger rank in the selection pool, like how the DJ puts the songs his friends request higher on the playlist than those shouted at him by the pack of drunken middle-aged women out celebrating menopause and the false façade of self-confidence they tell each other they have.

The church is the DJ’s friend.

The rest of us are drunk bar cougars.

That said, the bar cougar still gets to hear The Thong Song every once in a while, right?  A lot of the opposition to the church bells could be arrested if only those forced to listen could enjoy their own favorites every now and again.

Because right now, the only time I enjoy the bells are in those few seconds when I can mistake whatever that religious song is for a ringing of the Irish standard “Danny Boy,” and even that illusion is fleeting.

Those requesting songs, let’s call us the Cougar Coalition, would of course be responsible for locating and supplying the bell tracks for the songs we wish to hear. That is, in my mind, a small price to pay to get Hell’s Bells ringing out at 7AM here in sunny Red Bluff. As the leader of the Cougar Coalition, I would with great joy track down an all-bell rendition of Smells Like Teen Spirit. Can you imagine with what great joy you’d enjoy the ringing of Stairway to Heaven from bed on a Sunday morning? Or how about taking your evening stroll to the dulcet tones of Sympathy for the Devil on a weeknight?

I feel this is the best solution for all parties involved and I look forward to its implementation.

R.D. Sullivan


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