To The Editor/by Dr. Reid Vance
To the Editor:
My first letter to an editor of a newspaper was sent in the late 1980s, to the Jackson Daily News, on a topic I now can’t remember. In the decades since, I’ve been tempted to fire off other opinionated missives on any number of issues vital to societal discourse—for example, how video replay technology will lead to awful unintended consequences in baseball (narrator: “he was right”)—but I’ve always refrained.
The recent Collegian opinion column of Mr. Elliot Reeder, an excellent writer and outstanding student, though well-formed and painstakingly documented, was, to quote the presumptive Democrat presidential nominee, malarkey. I come now to the defense of a universally beloved figure in American life and to express a vital counterpoint of the utmost cultural importance: Pam Beesly is most certainly not overrated.
Rather than refute Mr. Elliot point-by-point (which I totally could do, totally), I’ll instead offer several character attributes of Pam Beesly that add to her charm and endear her to millions, even in reruns.
Pam is faithful. Pam gives her fiancée Roy Anderson every possible chance at salvaging a relationship until his rage makes a permanent union untenable. Roy is the last one to realize what everyone else already knows: he doesn’t deserve Pam. No man does.
Pam is creative. Pam’s art inspires Michael Scott (admittedly, not a difficult thing to do), and her painting of Dunder-Mifflin’s Scranton office building is the last thing viewers see in the series’ final episode. Pam is also a key member of the party planning committee.
Pam is fashionable. Pam won the Whitest Shoes Award at the 2006 Dundees.
Pam is bold. Pam takes initiative in premiering her art at a local showing, and then pursuing her art career while navigating a long-distance relationship with Jim Halpert. Pam also steps out from behind the receptionist’s desk to help form the new Michael Scott Paper Company, a risky career move if there ever was one.
Pam is selfless. Not wanting to expose the salacious and illicit Angela Martin-Dwight Schrute relationship—a move that would invite scorn and bring possible corporate discipline to her colleagues—Pam volunteers to have co-workers’ complaints read about her in a round of office conflict resolution.
Pam is easy on the eyes. (See: “Casino Night.”)
I could go on, but I have papers to grade.
All these characteristics and others make Pam Beesly an inspiring figure and a woman worthy of admiration. Moreover, these character traits also make Pam worthy of Jim’s affection. Again, we turn to “Casino Night.” What man has not been that Jim, baring his soul, risking rejection, for the attention and affection of his own Pam? Indeed, Jim knows that the heart wants what it wants—or else it does not care.
Fellow men of Earth, hear me: I found my Pam, and I hope you find yours. She is out there, perhaps even right in front of you, if you care to look. As was true for Jim, the love you long for may not be in some faraway place like Stamford, Connecticut. Rather, she could be the friend you know best, the one you see every day sitting at that same desk, right across the room.
Far from being overrated, Pam Beesly—and all the Pams of this world—are worthy of our love, appreciation, and admiration. For as scripture says, “Many women have done excellently, but Pam Beesly surpasses them all.”
Reid Vance, Ph.D.