I’ve been a small businesman for almost 11 years now, as Hollywood Elsewhere became a stand-alone, self-run site in August 2004. This meant, of course, no more salary paychecks but checks for HE advertising runs. Which has meant, of course, that some people would occasionally pay late and that I’d eventually have to send them emails that said “ahem!…we’re a little late here!” If I don’t do that they’ll just pay even later or possibly stiff me the next time. I’ve always had this little voice telling me to not only use the voice of Mickey Mouse (“Hello!…hah-hah-hah!…hi!”) but adopt a Mickey Mouse-like attitude when I write advertisers. Or maybe I really mean Minnie Mouse…I’m not sure. Just imagine my Mickey Mouse voice saying “Will you please me? I’m just a mouse with a smiling face and big ears and a little black tail, but I’d very happy if you did the right thing…hah-hah-hah!”

There’s this one advertiser who should have paid by last March or thereabouts, and now we’re past Independence Day. Hello, August! My ad guy and I have been Mickey Mouse-ing it, as usual, but a couple of weeks ago I began to feel the stirrings of a Donald Duck attitude. So I wrote letters to the person whom I feel is primarily responsible for payment and delivered them to (a) a production company, (b) an attorney’s office and (c) a home on Blue Jay Way. Last weekend we were told that the lower-level person directly responsible for payment was “committed” to making things right (that word means next to nothing) and would get in touch with us before last Friday. She didn’t. We all know that honey works better than vinegar, but what do you do when honey doesn’t work for months on end? I was asking myself this yesterday. How do I play this? I don’t want to go ballistic but I don’t want to be a jellyfish.

The answer hit me this morning. I need to write the advertiser in question and say the following in the cheery manner of Steamboat Willie: “Oh, hello! Will you please pay meeeee? Hah-hah-hah!”