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The weather has been really hot in Texas, and I have been complaining about it. When it got to 105 degrees (Fahrenheit of course), I was so hot that I realized I needed to spend more time complaining. And it helped—the next day it went down to 104.

“See,” I thought, “complaining does help, and I am going to do more of it.” So, the following day I complained even more, and the temperature dropped to 100. With just a bit more complaining, I was sure I could get it below triple digits.

I was determined, and the next day and I started out by moaning, “This lousy heat has got to stop, and the government should do something about it.” I knew that if I could just get Washington to pay attention—or at least the governor in Austin—I would see our energy bills go down. I wrote to my senator and reminded him: “You claimed that you were concerned about climate control, and we would have better weather this year. Here it is in August, and you have done nothing to reduce the temperature. You politicians are all alike: a lot of hot air.”

I liked my last remark about “hot air” because it was almost metaphorical and had a sense of poetry to it. Surely now the government would do something. Several Presidents have promised to deal with the weather change, but they haven’t and if the President can’t change the weather, we are in for a warm (or cold) future.

The letter must have been forwarded because within a month I received a form letter from a meteorologist in Kansas. There was no signature, but it said in part: “Your letter has been put on a weather balloon and should soon reach the atmosphere, where nature is sharing the hot air near the surface with the bitterly cold in the tropopause. As the land below heats, we will have more relative humidity and the vapor supply should not change. Call us if you have further questions.” Obviously, my complaining was, so to speak, seeding the clouds of mystery about the weather.

I also wanted to complain about “gun control” so I write to the CEO and President of the NRA. Among other things, which I won’t repeat here because there may be young people in the crowd, I said that I was sick and tired of people being shot in malls, churches, and parking lots. “Why don’t you pass legislation that makes automatic weapons illegal? Surely, I complained, “your prayers and thoughts are not doing enough to help the average citizen.”

Texans are big on “prayers and thoughts,” and I believed my complaint would strike at the belly of the problem, but to no avail. I received a form letter from the NRA, with symbols of pistols and AK-47s on the masthead, which said: “Dear Mr. Franklin, we received your letter and want you to know that we are doing everything possible to alleviate the matter. We have solicited the prayers and thoughts of every major denomination in Texas, including, of course, Catholics, Muslims, and Jews, and we can assure you that the matter is taken seriously.”

A picture of Governor Abbott shaking hands with Trump (the right hand) and Biden (with the left hand) was enclosed, as well as the signature of Carolyn D. Meadows. I could see that my complaining might be doing some good. It was going to the highest officials, and they were responding, so I decided to continue.

“Why not complain about Texas drivers,” I thought, “They come up behind me quickly with their pick-ups and cross in front of me, stampeding other vehicles and exceeding our 85-an-hour speed limit.” Perhaps a letter to the State Police would help. I sat down at my computer and began my complaint. “Several times a day I have been getting Ralph on the phone, begging me to help “just a little, as much as you can afford,” with the Police Pickle Ball Fund. I have nothing against Pickle Ball, but your department has my phone ringing ten times a day. I try to be nice and say, ‘Ralph, I just can’t help you now, but I will promise you my thoughts and prayers.’” Ralph didn’t like my response and he complained to me about how much the officers do and how little they are appreciated.

I don’t know what to do. Here I was complaining to the State Police and Ralph set the bar higher and complains about me and how little I appreciate the efforts of our law officers. I decide to let that one go, and complain about something else.

The matter of “robocalls” immediately comes to mind, but to whom shall I complain? I decide to consult the fount of all wisdom, the AT&T. “You can’t fool me,” I complain, “I get calls from Polly in Texas, Idaho, and Australia. She can’t be everywhere at once and always wants money. What should I do?”

AT&T responded a month later (and this is a quote from their website): “Scammers using robocalling technologies can be persistent and will look for ways to get their calls past evolving blocking technologies. Sometimes calling parties try to disguise their identity by using a telephone number that they are not really entitled to use, such as the number of a government agency or a legitimate business with whom you may have a relationship or a telephone number that looks so much like yours that you might think it is a friend or neighbor calling. In this way, they try to get you to answer the phone, and at the same time avoid technologies that would otherwise block the calling party’s real telephone number. This is called “spoofing.” AT&T offers customers services which can help identify a call that uses a spoofed telephone number as spam, fraud or neither, and blocks or flags the call accordingly.”

I don’t want to complain more to AT&T and tell them that I knew all that; it might sound like I don’t appreciate their advice and I don’t want them complaining about that!

I know there are other things I can complain about. If I can’t think of any, I’ll ask my neighbor or watch the news on TV. That will provide me with plenty of grumbles. Who could ask for more?

Karl Franklin


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