We worked hard, but my favorite memory of the FTC is the fun we had. I served as Associate Director for Marketing Practices in BCP from 1982-1984, part of the team that Jim Miller and Tim Muris brought to the agency at the beginning of the Reagan Administration. Our arrival was accompanied by some rather hysterical reporting that cast us as Visigoths sacking Washington. The reporting was a little over the top, and Merrie Spaeth – our press secretary – responded with a tongue-in-cheek article in defense of the Visigoths, noting that they were a peaceful, agricultural people. I thought that was pretty clever, and typed out an anonymous note to Merrie as “Attila-the-Hun,” noting that Attila’s reputation had been suffering for years – and maybe she might do for him what she had done for the Visigoths. I signed it in red ink, added a postscript (“Looks like I write in blood, huh? Just ink. Ha ha”) and put the letter in inter-office mail. Then, like all good practical jokers, I waited silently for the reaction. Except there was none. Or, at least, there was none for about four days. Then, at breakfast, I picked up The Washington Post and was gob-smacked to find on the Op-Ed page, with Jack Anderson and various serious commentaries, a facsimile of my letter to Merrie – or, more correctly, Attila’s letter to Merrie. Merrie never revealed me as the author. I also never appeared on the Post Op-Ed page again.
-- Chris Brewster