THE OP/ED page, which got its nickname because it is located OPposite the EDitorial page, receives more than 200 free-lance submissions a week. (The formal name is Opinion * Commentary Page in The Sun and Other Voices in The Evening %% Sun). Obviously, most contributions cannot be printed. Space is limited. %%
%% Did you ever wonder what pearls of wisdom you are missing?
Here's the beginning of one recent reject, from a professor in Indiana:
"The great ugliness of the world overwhelms us all. Drowning in violence and suffocating from fear, we have learned that nothing important really ever changes and that humankind remains dedicated, resolutely, to its own extinction. Now rapidly approaching the juncture of our fin de siecle with the fin de millennium, we understand fully that corruption knows absolutely bounds and that the expression 'civilized decay' is mere redundance. Little wonder, then, that there is no longer any air to breathe and that asphyxiation is the operational definition of 'progress.' "
"There is more! . . ."
And there was more -- much more -- but we couldn't bear to read any more.
Some readers, however, may wish to wallow further in the great ugliness of the world. To all who request it, and enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope, we will send a copy of the rest of the article.
* * *
IF ANYONE doubted that Montgomery County has an increasingly non-English-speaking population, a piece of campaign literature makes the point vividly. Bruce Adams, a candidate for county executive there, has published his pitch to voters in five languages -- plus several others on the cover sheet.
The languages, in the order they appear on the document: English, Hindi, Korean, Spanish and Chinese. Bordering his picture are short additional messages in French and a couple of other alphabets that look vaguely South Indian or Southeast Asian to untutored eyes.
There appear to be some untutored eyes at Adams headquarters as well. One of the pages was faxed upside down, which would not have confused a Hindi-reader who knew that its alphabet is written with the line over the top of each letter but might have confused someone only starting to read Korean, the other language on the same page.
* * *
MEMO TO members of the American Automobile Association who might be seeking a route to Seagirt Marine Terminal, Maryland's pride of the waterfront:
Use the automobile club's current map of "Baltimore and northern metropolitan area," which shows Seagirt, rather than the "Baltimore and southern metropolitan area" map, which doesn't.