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As a child, I believed in Santa Claus, the Easter bunny and the tooth fairy. I thought The Mummy lived, Frankenstein was re-animated, and Dracula wanted my blood. Somewhere along the line, each of those fantasies was shown to be false.

As a young man, I found out many of my heroes and leaders were rogues. Scandals proved some clergy immoral. Movie stars and athletes had all the usual human faults. Richard Nixon was a "crook" and Bill Clinton did indeed have sex with "that woman."

Over the years, I've had a lot of "balloons popped." As a result, I seldom just take that "leap of faith" without doing some serious research. Life's experiences have taken my natural cynicism and honed it to the point I'm usually able to spot a ruse from a mile away.

As an old man, one of the few Pollyanna-ish notions I had left was this: The Letters to the Editor section of the newspaper was an unfiltered cross-section of opinions held by local residents. How stupid of me. I thought in one tiny corner of one page, 250 words of civil, yet cutting criticism could be leveled at the entity that "buys ink by the barrel;" That if one saw abuse of power, hypocrisy or bullying in print, it could be pointed out by average readers without censorship.

My (in)sincere thanks to the Quad-City Times for disabusing me of that silly notion.

Eugene Mattecheck Jr.


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