Which herein presents another of its civic responsibility issues.
“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To leave our daily tasks,
And answer from the NAPA law
The questions no one asks.”
Well, almost no one.
Most NAPA members seem to prefer confusion to reading the constitution, a state of mind with which I am in full accord. Reading a constitution can be enlightening, but light reading it is not. For the major part of my NAPA life I have happily avoided such reading, and I would extend the same privilege to all other members.
Not so A. Walrus. As assistant Secretary-Treasurer he is convinced officials should inform their constituency why they do what they do or don’t do. Not being one to argue with an aroused walrus, I am letting him.
Question: Why don’t I get a statement informing me my dues are due, instead of a notice they are already two weeks overdue?
Answer: The NAPA constitution is the quintessence of politeness. It feels bills are pushy, while reminders are genteel. There is an element of chivalry in this. It permits the member to remit before he has to be prodded into payment. From the practical standpoint, such remittances save the postage required by a bill. During eight months in office we may have saved as much as $1.50 which gives you a pretty good idea of how well chivalry works.
Obviously the credit systems of other institutions have conditioned our members not to respond with a check until the postman rings twice. Even members who have not lost or mislaid their membership cards find it hard to remember – if they ever knew – that the expiration date on it means a check is requested, not a bill may be expected. Now come the new address labels showing the month for you to pay dues. If I don’t hear from you by the end of that month, you will hear from me, but I shall be happy to let you go first.
Question: Elections are coming up. Will I receive a ballot this year or another one of those blank strips of paper?
Answer: If you will look closely at that “blank” piece of paper, you will see it is also a ballot. The NAPA constitution believes in freedom of choice. You are provided with space to write in your selection for each elective office and for the 1972 convention site.
Before you grab your pen, however, understand the constitution does put a few limitations on your choices. Anybody you vote for must be a member and active (see below for definition of active). President and editor must have been members for three years or more and judges for five. You may vote for the same person for every office, but if elected to 2 or more he can accept only one. If you vote for him for convention seat, he will not be elected. NAPA does not wish any of its members to be sat upon.
The written ballot need not be used if you expect to attend the convention. If you’re not sure, send it in. Then if you do arrive, ask that your proxy be withdrawn. Of course if you’d rather go shopping than be at a business session, leave it in. If you don’t receive or if you replace your official ballot (they will be in the May bundle) draw up a reasonable facsimile of it.
Two more admonitions: (1) Sign your proxy or it won’t be counted. NAPA is permissive, but it is not about to let unauthorized persons to vote once, or authorized persons to vote twice. The ballots are counted by the proxy committee and then destroyed so don’t worry about your privacy being invaded.
(2) To be eligible to vote you must also be active. Activity consists of contributing at least 300 words in prose or poetry to amateur papers published during the preceding twelve months and distributed to no less than 100 members, including the officers; or handsetting and printing at least 1000 words in such papers. Life members are exempt from these activity requirements.
Question: That last sounds good. How do I get to be a life member?
Answer: There are three ways. (1) Serve as president for a year. (2) Serve as official editor for one year and pay $20. (3) Be a member for ten years and then pay $50. This is a calculated risk. If you die before you have used up your $50 worth of dues, no refund will be made to your heirs. If you get mad and resign, again no refund. However, the organization also assumes a risk. It may have to support a member for his natural life, long after his active life – printing, writing, office-holding – has died.
Being an aquatic creature who spends most of his city life in the bathtub, the Walrus is also good at putting in plugs. Here are three. (1) Send the Secretary-Treasurer ten cents if you want a copy of the NAPA constitution. (2) If you want to know who is running for what or from which before you vote, keep reading the papers in the bundles. You are free to publish the names of your own candidates and to electioneer for them. (3) Marietta, Ohio, was named for Marie Antoinette. Instead of visiting it, she lost her head over other matters. Lafayette made the trip and had a hotel named for him. Use your head. Come to Marietta. Wonderful things happen there. At least they do July 3, 4, and 5 during the NAPA convention.
Published by Louise Lincoln and A. Walrus
Columbus, Ohio 43209
Printed by Alf Babcock