Subject: The Burning Motion
as related by Lee Gold



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 chores.
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 itself.
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," he said.
Then he dismissed the motion from consideration because it wasn't in writing.
It was never brought up again.