Friday, September 01, 2017

Just Say'n: A New Monthly Column By John E. Clark

Prologue By Brian E. Clark: John Clark is my Father. Many people know me, simply because of him; I’ve worked with him for as long as I can remember. The one thing I want to dispel immediately is that he isn’t here because of me, rather I learned my writing styles from him. It had to be 20, or so years ago, Steven Gionfriddo & my Father had a column in the Middletown Press, where they sparred lightly, and it was great! I couldn’t hardly wait to read it each week! John E. Clark is probably the best man I know. He surely is the King of Media, at least here in Middletown, having mastered Television, Radio, and Print Media in his career. If I turn out to be a quarter of who he is, I would be a lucky man. He also has his quirks, as we all do, so without further ado, here is “Just Say’n” 
It’s been awhile since I sat down at my old clunker called a typewriter and wrote a

column for publication.

Actually about 20 years. Newer kids on the block call it a word processor. I still call it my


Deal with it.

The purpose of this column is to bring to your, the reader’s attention, some of the nuttiness

going on in the City Of Middletown and surrounding towns. All of the things I will talk about in

this column actually happened. When I find the source of the nuttiness, I will report it to you in

this column. I have already eliminated the water supply.

Nothing controversial. No names. Just the facts ( as Joe Friday would have said ).

It will want you to stop . . . smell the coffee, the rose bush or your favorite cactus plant.

I even brought back the popular Sidebar . . .


My lovely wife and I decide to go have a bite to eat at a local popular diner after a local sports

game. At the next table were 6 to 8 high school girls and boys who were at the same game. In

the ensuing 45 minutes, I don’t think any of them said no more than 10 words to each other.

They were too busy TEXTING each other.

Duh ?

Whatever happened to NORMAL CONVERSATION?   ( Now there is an interesting concept ).

Are our high schools grinding out our kids not capable of TALKING to each other?

The more important question is: can they talk at all? In the vernacular, it’s called SOCIAL


My wife and I were floored.

Then each paid their own bill and left.

It was like watching a silent 1920s movie. I was waiting for Charlie Chaplin to walk in any time.

 McDonalds MATH

I go through the drive-in of a McDonald’s restaurant.

I order 2 small cheeseburgers ( no pickle ); 1 small bag of French fries; 1 small coffee – to go.

Order total was under $ 10.00 – with tax.

Gave the employee at the window a $ 20.00 bill. The employee was in her late teens.

She gave me back: my $ 20.00 bill; a $ 10.00 bill; a $ 5.00 bill and ( 4 ) $ 1.00 bills.

I said to her 3 times: Are you sure you rang this up right?

Her reply: It is right. I make no mistakes.

I got lunch for free and made a $ 19.00 profit.

Oh, by the way . . . the employee is no longer employed by McDonald's.


One Saturday night in August, my wife and I decided to go out to dinner.

I was sitting at a red light on the street directly across from the Veterans Park on Washington

Street. A church was to my right.

A car, who had a green light, went by, so I safely made a right turn on red onto Washington

Street and started to proceed westbound.

The car who went by suddenly stops; the driver gets out of his car and starts yelling at me and

my wife: “ Why are you following me? “

Uh, yeah . . .

Meantime, traffic was backing up westbound on Washington Street while this moron was out in

the middle of the street screaming at us.

I didn’t know they emptied the psych ward that evening.

Incidentally, I recognized the guy who was screaming at us: he is/was a mailman for the U.S.

Postal Service - in Middletown.


Here’s one that will test your memory molecules :

If you were brought up and raised in Middletown during the 1960s – the Jupiter store – located

on the corner of Main and Washington Street – sold boiled ham – at 49 cents per pound – but

only on Fridays! It was good stuff!

People would line up in front of Jupiters and down Main Street – just to buy their boiled ham.

Ah, the good ‘ole days.


Growing up in Middletown in the 1960s and 1970s was a great experience. The town was small

enough so that everyone knew everyone.

Awhile back, my wife and I were talking about people we saw on a regular basis around town.

Now we do not.

Some have passed, but most have moved away.

You have a greater probability of 50% or more of seeing someone from Middletown in North

Carolina; South Carolina; Georgia or Florida.

The high cost of living in Connecticut finally pushed many of these people away.

To our politicians running Connecticut: Keep up the great work! In 10 years, we can turn the

light out. The state will be empty.


Within the last 10 years or so, newspaper circulations around the country have dropped like a

rock. Many of our younger citizens don’t even subscribe – or even – read their own local

newspaper – even if it’s available online.  As a result, many of them are uninformed about what

is going on around them.

I subscribe to 4 newspapers every day ( Monday – Saturday ) and 4 on Sundays. There is

something to be said about having something in your hands to read.

I am the only stop on my street for actually home delivery. Pathetic.


It is my understanding that the Middletown School system ( along with other school systems in

Connecticut ) have stopped teaching cursive writing in the elementary grades?

Is this right? This cannot be.

If this is true, our schools will be churning out a whole bunch of students who cannot write their


Great. Now our children – when they grow up – cannot sign a letter they send; a mortgage

Application; an employment application – or even write and sign a check.


Every month, Middlesex Chamber Of Commerce President Lawrence McHugh makes a valid

point at the monthly Middlesex Chamber Of Commerce Breakfasts held at the Radisson Hotel

in Cromwell :

We want our children to live, work and stay in Connecticut after graduating from high school or


It is high time for Connecticut business to step up – and be responsible.

Case in point :

I know of several recent graduates who earned degrees in Broadcast Journalism in May – yet

cannot get a job at any of Connecticut’s commercially run radio or television stations. These are

young men and women with degrees from Syracuse University; UCONN; Southern

Connecticut State University and Western Connecticut State University.

These broadcast outlets are highly profitable. Money should not be the issue.

Memo to Connecticut’s commercial broadcast stations :

You have a responsibility to give these qualified young men and women a job opportunity.

One of the graduates I know got a job opportunity as a sportscaster at a television station in

Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He did not want to leave Connecticut. But to work in the field he went to

college for – he had to.

That should not be.

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