Let me introduce my readers to one of my readers. His name is Richard Siegelman. He lives in Plainview and he is 65 years old. Richard was kind enough to email me through the years and correct and clarify some of my writings. He also constantly pores through the "Letters to the Editors" and I have seen his writings there.
Recently he made the front page of the Part 2 of Newsday with his large picture on the front page. I have gone to lunch with Richard and I will certify that he is a nice person if not a bit unusual. He taught for 37 years in Oyster Bay-East Norwich School District. He taught in the district's Gifted program. He retired in 2003.
He was not a 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., five days a week, 36 weeks a year teacher. He would go to bed at 10 p.m. and got up at 5 a.m. to prepare for his classes. Leaving school late in the day he never could catch up on his newspaper or magazine reading on current events. So from 1966-2003 his collection of unread books and magazines grew and grew and his shelves at home became fuller and fuller.
He resisted subscribing to cable TV or satellite radio, but he couldn't resist taping Channels 2 to 13 on a VCR. He now has 600 hours of still unwatched programs on video cassettes and hundreds of old albums and 45 rpm records. Of course, his wife is not enthralled with all his "stuff."
Richard naively thought that once he retired he would finally have the time to read all those unread volumes in his basement. In five years of retirement he has barely made a dent.
He states, "I need nothing less than a 10-year moratorium on all forms of publishing. I want all printing presses to shut down as they have had an uninterrupted run of over 500 years since Gutenberg's first one in 1450. I'd like all television and radio stations to shut down also."
He also would "unplug the World Wide Web and ban all email so I do not have to spend two hours a day writing serious letters to the editor and sports 'rants' to Newsday and other newspapers and magazines." "Is this too much to ask?" he queries. Richard Siegelman is asking for the bans with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek.
He will go on reading at the Plainview-Old Bethpage Library and collecting newspapers and magazines. He is an avid reader and he occasionally emails me. Richard has a thirst for knowledge that must be quenched on a daily basis. This is his kindler, gentler "modest proposal" with a nod of his head to Jonathan Swift.
Good luck, Richard!