What becomes a legend — you decide

It's time for "Ask Get Serious!," our helpful advice column where we enjoy our favorite pastime of telling other people what they're doing wrong! Here's our latest letter from a reader:

"Dear Ask Get Serious!: I am terribly lonely. Oh, people stop by my place from time to time, but not nearly enough. If I'm not surrounded by crowds, I panic. I'm always inviting people over, but most of them never respond. What's wrong with me?"

"Signed, A Tourism Publicity Director."

Sir, the problem is obvious. Clearly your tourist site has neglected to acquire itself a legend.

A good legend is a proven formula for drawing the paying crowds to what otherwise might be just a mildly interesting spot on the map. If you haven't got a romantic, spooky, or rip-roaring legend about the place to tout on your brochure, you're sunk.

Just think, would you have heard of Loch Ness if it didn't have a monster? What would Romania do without Count Dracula? And aren't the folks at Jamestown awfully glad that John Smith was saved, legendarily speaking, by Pocahontas?

Perhaps now you are saying, "But nothing legendary ever happened at our place. Although folks still do talk about the time Milton, our custodian, got pie-eyed on Wild Irish Rose and ran around on the roof wearing nothing but a tool belt, singing 'Free Bird' at the top of his lungs. He did draw a crowd."

No problem! If history failed to provide you with a suitable legend, simply invent a brand-new one.

An excellent true example of this is the legend that after Blackbeard the pirate had his head sliced off, his body kept swimming around his ship. As reported in the Daily Press recently, North Carolina author Kevin P. Duffus has determined the story "was concocted by an overheated tourism brochure promoting Ocracoke Island."

That's the kind of imaginative, pro-active tourism promotion we're talking about! Put on your thinking cap and dream up your very own legend!

Uh, nothing occurring to you? We can help. Use our Get Serious! Legend-O-Matic legend generator (Our slogan: "Making the past come alive like it never did before") and you're on your way.

First, pick from the Legend-O-Matic's following list of useful words and phrases:

Long ago

Before the war

Handsome youth

Beautiful maiden

Star-crossed lovers

Sworn enemies

Angry father






Look for this special section in your
Baltimore Sun newspaper on Dec. 29, 2013.
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