Sometime back in the 70s, Ted Johnstone was Scribe (a post now
called Secretary) of LASFS. I think this was in the first
LASFS Clubhouse, the one on Ventura Blvd., with Mike Glyer as
Director (a post now called President), though Mike Glyer didn't
remember the incident when I last spoke to him.
Some dimwitted but zealous member had introduced a motion
requiring the Scribe to read the newspapers for items of SF
or fannish interest and write letters about them, including
condolence letters to the families of any prominent SF
pro or fan who died -- plus a number of other time-consuming
Glyer read it to the meeting. About the third paragraph,
Ted (who as Scribe was sitting beside the Director, at the
front of the meeting), pulled out his cigarette lighter and
set fire to the bottom of the motion. Glyer read it
imperturbably, affecting not to notice it burning. As the
flames crept close to his hands, he dropped it on the table
-- into a metal ashtray, where it finished making an ash of
There was some discussion of the motion, in which Ted took
no part -- until after some minutes he finally raised his
hand to ask if the motion had been submitted in writing.
Glyer looked about the table. "It doesn't seem to have been,"
Then he dismissed the motion from consideration because it
wasn't in writing.
It was never brought up again.