Dear Boston Herald:


My father, an accountant by trade, voted for John Anderson in 1980. He has always defined himself as a “fiscal conservative,” but socially he’s quite liberal. Very pro-marriage equality, believing firmly that “small government” means just that. So I’m not entirely sure you could call him a “Rockefeller Republican.” In fact, he campaigned his big ol’ heart out for Hillary Clinton, in FLORIDA, no less, so that’s also testimony to his chutzpah. An Air Force veteran, he was employed for many years by the USPS, toiling the graveyard shift, so this is a guy who understands the meaning, and value, of hard work.

Here’s what my father says about the Boston Herald: “No self-respecting FISH’d be wrapped up in that paper.”

Now, my mother-in-law was sort of the same way. Very cautious with her money, very responsible. She subscribed to the Boston Herald for many years, primarily because the comics were better than those in the Globe. Until she got Alzheimer’s. She tried, she really did, to keep up with things via the newspaper, but ultimately relied on us, her caregivers, to let her know what was happening. Reading is a struggle for her. And so we cancelled her subscription, or – rather – we had to tell you numerous times to cancel her subscription, and, eventually, the paper stopped arriving on our porch.

Until a few weeks ago.

We have a phone set up in our apartment downstairs (we live in a two-family home). It’s connected to her landline. This way, we’re able to see who has called her. We want to give her as much of a feeling of dignity and/or normalcy as possible as she continues to decline, so we didn’t take away her phone. She still gets calls from her other son, her granddaughters, her friend Ruthie who takes her out every month to get her hair done. She also gets calls from you. We can see this on the phone we have downstairs. We can only assume that someone in your subscriptions department gave her a call to see if she wanted to subscribe again. My mother-in-law, perpetually baffled yet wanting always to be polite, probably just uttered some combination of words which could be interpreted as an affirmation.

And so we explained to you, Boston Herald, what the situation was and why you really needed to stop having the paper delivered here and why we were not going to pay the bills you’d been sending to her. And so the papers stopped.

So I’m flummoxed as to why we got ANOTHER bill this afternoon. I’m afraid we were a little less polite than we were before. I thought of my beloved father as I swiftly jotted across the front of the bill:


You’ll be getting it in a couple of days. Just fair warning.

Sincerely –
Lisa McColgan

PS – your comics are still better than the Globe’s, though.

Exciting Opportunities.


Phone rings at work.  I see on my screen it’s from a popular hotel chain; I stayed at one of their hotels just recently for a software conference.

“Development.  This is Lisa.”

“Uh, yes.  Is this Lisa Mc…McCuh…McCulligahununnnnhuh?”




The woman launches into her pitch.  She’s happy to see that my family has recently stayed at a Brand X hotel.  She hopes we had a wonderful vacation.  She lets me know that the call may be recorded for “quality purposes.”  And then she asks:

“Tell me, Mizzus McCollum, when was the last time you enjoyed margaritas at Myrtle Beach?”

I look at the clock.  It’s 4:30.  I’ve finished most of my pressing tasks for the day.  I’m being called at work, but I decide to go ahead and keep the conversation going.

“Well, I haven’t had a drink in – let’s see – nine years.”

“Oh.  OH.  Uh…”

“I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a margarita.”

“Well.  I’m sorry about that.  Certainly you can have a non-alcoholic beverage.”

“Oh, thank you!”

“Now, you say you’ve been to Myrtle Beach?”

“Yes.  20 years ago?  It was for a family reunion.”

“How nice.”

“I’d just shaved one side of my head and it was a SCANDAL.  Also?  My sister had just gotten her first tattoo and she didn’t want anyone to know about it so she wore socks the WHOLE TIME.  In Myrtle Beach.  In August.”


“She even wore socks to the HOT TUB.  I’m like, TINA.  Are you seriously going to wear ONE SOCK in the HOT TUB?”

“Uh, hahaha.”

“In hindsight, it didn’t matter, really, because everyone else was fixated on my hair.  You know what’s funny, though?  We both have tattoos now.  Like, HUGE ones.  And here she was all worried about this little tiny flower on her ankle.  Which sort of looks like a turtle.”

“Well…Mrs. McCunnnn.  With your permission, I would like to put you on a list to receive promotions about exciting timeshare opportunities in Myrtle Beach.  Perhaps you and your family will have another reunion.”

“Well, I don’t know.  Does that mean you’re gonna keep calling me at work?”

From the other side of my cubicle wall I hear my friend Meg’s bemused sputter.

“Miz McCorrrum, I want to thank you for your time.  You have a nice night.”