A Balcony View: The art of venting through letters

Every week, I get letters from readers. While I may not respond to all of them, I do read them, and for the most part enjoy every differing opinion. OK, so maybe the ones that wish my demise aren't at the top of my bestseller list.

Nevertheless, as a writer, I can respect the ingenuity and originality of my haters when they describe in precise detail how they would dispatch me from this world.

Good or bad, writing a letter to someone or something you've never met is a great way to let go of an emotion — to cast it from your own soul out into the universe. I do a lot of that kind of writing. Sometimes, I even do the emotionally intelligent thing and throw them away instead of sending my "Gary Fury" out into the world where it can get me into trouble.

Alas, today isn't one of my smarter days, and so with that in mind, I thought I'd share a few of my recent letters.

Dear Mr. Rick Caruso,

Just wanted to let you know I've been enjoying your place a lot this summer, along with a lot of other Glendale residents. I know business is probably not as robust as you would like. But that's a sign of the times and not a measure of our shame at the deal we cut with you. There is one small thing…

I recently bought a bike. It's part of my desire not to die of a heart attack so that I may continue to irritate my ex-wife for a few more decades. I've been waking up before sunrise each day for a little cruise around the city. The other day, I was riding by your little establishment when I happened to see your gardeners and maintenance crews working to ensure your property is shiny and ready for the new day.

I noticed your crew was having some difficulties with their watering hoses. I don't know if there was some kind of malfunction or perhaps the pre-dawn light made it difficult for your employees to find the shrubs. Whatever the issue was, those hard-working fellows were watering your sidewalks and missing the plants entirely.

You've probably heard that the rest of us in Glendale have been told not to water our sidewalks and driveways, and that our water is in short supply. Glendale Water & Power has been drilling that into our heads while simultaneously threatening to raise our rates.

I know you don't call Glendale home, so you don't get the opportunity to ride your bike and see what's going on outside the Americana. But I do. Which is why I thought you might appreciate this letter — because you wouldn't want to be accused of intentionally hogging water in such a careless and reckless manner while most of us are doing our part, right?

Anyway, good luck with that next development,


Dear Three Knuckleheads of the Week,

So two of you allegedly set fire to a playground and the other allegedly destroyed a church sculpture with a sledgehammer. Where do I start with you guys? What goes through your minds when you carry out such acts of stupendous stupidity?

Was what you did going to be any less idiotic if you had not been caught? I don't think so.

There really isn't much to say. But I figured somebody in the community ought to shine a tiny spotlight on your moronic behavior. I'm overjoyed all three of you were apprehended and hoping that during your incarceration and punishment, you will learn valuable life lessons — like thinking before acting.

Enjoy the consequences,


Dear Mrs. Roach,

Welcome back! As one of the teachers who was laid off earlier this year, it made me tremendously happy to see you got your job back along with a bunch of other educators in our school district.

I read about the reinstatements, but I wasn't sure you had been rehired until I saw a picture of your name outside one of the classrooms at R.D. White Elementary. That picture was posted on Facebook by your new husband, who was evidently overjoyed at the prospect of your returning to the job you love.

I'm sure my daughter will also be ecstatic to see you at school in a few days. You are one of her favorite teachers and with good reason. You see the world in a positive, loving, nonjudgmental way. You are exactly the kind of person who should be teaching our children. Because the values you instill are the ones that will make them better people.

Hopefully, your return and the happiness on your students' faces will be a scene played over and over on campuses all around Glendale. It's one of those good-news stories that is often overlooked because of knuckleheads who take our attention away from things that really matter. But not this time.

Take care, and good luck with your class!


Uncle Gary.

GARY HUERTA is a Glendale resident and author. He is senior manager of communications for DIRECTV and a copywriting professor at Pasadena Art Center College of Design. Gary may be reached at garyrhuerta@gmail.com.

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