Larry King wrote his USA Today column for two decades, ending four years ago this month. Some of us who followed this journey began with...

Share story

Larry King wrote his USA Today column for two decades, ending four years ago this month. Some of us who followed this journey began with irritation. Who is this guy who shares these random thoughts that are no wiser than your relative, the one who didn’t graduate? Why is he writing the deep thoughts? And why am I reading, all the time?

As a columnist, although not quite as accomplished as old Larry, I came to admire his long-distance endurance. If I was once annoyed by the boldface/dot-dot-dot format on a weekly basis, we can now attribute this to columnist envy. So while I’ll never wear the King‘s old clothes, maybe I can try them on just this once. So here goes:

It burns me up that certain potential employers have seen fit to completely ignore my applications. I tried cute. I tried serious. Do I have to start a fire in their lobby in order to get a simple acknowledgement? … Then, there are the PR people who keep sending me annoying pitches for stuff that’s not on my beat. They end their missives with a question. I ignore them. But if I answer their questions, does that mean I’ll hear from those who have ignored me?

What is the proper length of time to wait for an answer from someone I know is online? It’s been 90 seconds. I think they are ignoring me. … I know I’m not supposed to order from spammers, but some of this stuff is really cool. Can I buy the photo-binoculars if I contribute to the Save-the-Whales fund?

I got a lot of notes about last week’s column, as to why there is no e-mail in the Harry Potter books. True Potter-heads know he was born in 1979, so his teen years were ahead of the e-mail era. But if we aren’t sure exactly what year Jesus was born, how can we be positive about Harry?

The Weekly World News said the Pulitzer Prizes will soon honor the best spam. I think they’re kidding, since it was right after a story about replacing the glaciers with iceberg lettuce. But it’s actually a good idea. If we can turn spam into an art form, then maybe it won’t be so annoying. … If a woman dumps her husband over e-mail, can he wish her “happy birthday” electronically, or does that mean he has stooped to her level? And if she tells a man she is pregnant with an e-mail message, is he allowed to ask if it’s really hers?

OK, so I bought the binoculars. They don’t work. I wrote tech support on Thursday and still haven’t heard back. Does this mean I shouldn’t buy anything from any company that doesn’t provide phone support, or do I just need to stay away from

Next week: I channel Molly Ivins.

If you have questions or suggestions for Charles Bermant, you can contact him by e-mail at Type Inbox in the subject field. More columns at