Answering the call of '30 Seconds'

Despite what people may think, particularly those who enjoy (or despise) my weekly columns and/or online blogs, I really have nothing against ‘30 Seconds’ or those who regularly call in with their comments, questions or concerns. In fact, many of those callers – at least their voices – have become so familiar that I would probably recognize them while waiting in line at the store or eating dinner at a local restaurant. They wouldn’t even have to say much, just a random comment on the weather or “Why aren’t those peaches ringing up at the right sale price?” and I’m certain I’d turn, gasp and stammer, “Hey, you’re that Woman from Norwich!” or, “Look over there, dude, that’s Man from Sherburne.”

There have even been times when I immediately recognized that voice on the other end of the line, thinking to myself, “Wow, that sure sounds like Mr. So-and-So, my ninth grade math teacher” or “No way, that’s (insert your name here), I haven’t seen him in years.”

And there are even the doppelganger type calls, where I’m absolutely certain the person calling is someone I know, only to listen to their message and think, “There’s no way he (or she) would ever call that in” or “Did Mrs. Whoever really just call the president a ...?”

What can I say? As a big fan of ‘30 Seconds’ since its creation (and Ed.’s comments, of course), I find it quite humorous that here I am, years later, typing up our hometown daily’s reader reaction line every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and it’s a task I’ve refused to turn over to another reporter, although I suppose I probably could at any time.

Do I fear change? Am I addicted to ‘30 Seconds’? Or do I simply enjoy the unexpected, because you never know what you’re going to get when you pick up that phone and prepare to type away.

That’s not to say people don’t get out of hand once in awhile, in regards to their comments, but you’ll have that, I suppose. And sometimes those are the best posts, now that I think about it. The online version of ‘30 Seconds’ has its good and its bad days, as well, particularly when you realize Woman from Guilford is actually Man from South New Berlin, who just the day before was posting as Woman from McDonough and starting an online discussion (or argument) with Man from North Norwich, who’s actually Woman from New Berlin, but Man from Pharsalia on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Who do they think they’re fooling?

Something I often wonder, however, is this ... have those who regularly call in to ‘30 Seconds’ ever read the ... disclaimer ... I guess you could call it, that appears below its header? If not, or for those of you interested, here it is:

‘30 Seconds’ is The Evening Sun’s reader reaction line. To have your comments considered for publication in Monday, Wednesday or Friday’s paper, call 334-8122 and follow the recorded instructions. Comments containing profanity or libel will not be published, nor will every call be printed.

Pretty straightforward, right? Yet you wouldn’t believe the number of people who call in complaining their comment wasn’t printed, even though it – in all likelihood – contained ... you guessed it, profanity or libel. And when it says not every call will be printed ... well, that’s exactly what it means. As for myself, I can, with all honesty, say I have never, never let my personal politics influence what is or isn’t printed in regards to ‘30 Seconds.’ Not that I haven’t been tempted, from time to time, but a good journalist is an unbiased one, as far as work is concerned, and such behavior wouldn’t be unethical.

That being said ... wait a minute ... did I really just bring ethics into a ‘30 Seconds’ discussion? I must need more coffee.

Follow me on Twitter ... @evesunbrian.

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