March 03, 2003


Got a triangle-shaped FedEx box today that was as big as a horse's leg. In it was a bamboo hobo's stick with a round red kerchief tied on the end. On the kerchief, the words "Run Away to CARSON CITY" are printed over and over in black type.

Inside the kerchief was a pack of playing cards (with a lid secured by a sticker reading "Used in Live Blackjack Play"), a hermetically sealed bar of Best Western soap and a small bottle of Jhirmack conditioning shampoo.

Affixed to the bamboo stick with a rubber band was a press release with several pages. The face page, printed on a sort of marble-yellow paper, starts off:

Dear Correspondant:

America has changed since the 1800's, yes, but human nature has stayed pretty much the same - man is still the only animal that blushes ... or needs to.

Let me interject at this point.

I understand the need to grab an editor's/reporter's attention with a splashy display, but this goes beyond lame. I also understand the need to cut to the chase. Yes, times are tough. Tourist destinations - especially C- or D-grade attractions and towns - feel the need to do something to churn some visitors through the gates.

But this just smacks of desperation.

I now return you to the press release already in progress.

Enclosed is your travel knapsack, complete with supplies to make your journey comfortable, as well as details and dates that will take you back to the time when people never put off until tomorrow what they could put off until day after tomorrow.

Oh, and be sure you call the good folks at Weidinger Public Relations
(phone number given) so they can schedule a room and supper while you're here. But be careful, because int he Silver State, we still drink whisky and fight over water.

Yeah. I'll get right on that.

The capper on this, for me, was the signature at the bottom:

Mark Twain


Perhaps the good folks at Weidinger Public Relations were unaware of what Mr. Twain himself wrote in 1891 to his friend, W.D. Howells:

Travel has no longer any charm for me. I have seen all I want to except heaven and hell and I have only a vague curiosity about one of those.

Posted by Jeff at March 3, 2003 12:48 PM | TrackBack