Apr. 30, 2007: Just What the World Needs — A Kinder, Gentler Column

It is not easy being married to the fearsome Woman Who Shares My Name. She makes me eat broccoli all the time, which I believe to be hazardous to my health, except she says things will be more hazardous if I don’t eat it.  Even though we have dual heating and air-conditioning controls in the car, she is always reaching over and messing with my side because she wants the car’s temperature to resemble the kitchen oven. I prefer that it feel more like your average freezer locker. I love politics. She hates politics. She adores bargain shopping. I get the dry heaves just thinking about it.

However, my biggest problem is that the Woman Who Shares My Name has no understanding of the First Amendment or my right of free expression. None. Nil. Nada. Thomas Jefferson and his crowd could have better spent their time admiring each other’s satin knee pants for all the good the First Amendment does me. I thought I had learned in civics class at Russell High that Congress couldn’t make any laws preventing my right of free speech. You-know-who was in the same classes, but she doesn’t remember it that way. Her interpretation is that it doesn’t matter what the Founding Persons said, “If you don’t want to wash your own underwear or balance the checkbook, you had better do what I say. Around here, I am the law.” Looking back, I think civics class was a monumental waste of time.

As a part of the abridgement of my free speech, she requires that I submit a kinder and gentler column on a periodic basis instead of the fire-breathers for which I am known and loved. “All you ever want to do is to make everybody mad,” she says, “and that’s not nice. Remember, pretty is as pretty does.” I don’t know where she learned that. Probably in civics class.

I hate kinder and gentler, but I hate washing my own underwear even more, so bear with me while I say some nice things about the world around me.

First, congratulations to the governor and members of the General Assembly for an outstanding performance in the just-ended legislative session. They made us all proud as punch with the mature way they conducted the people’s business while managing to accomplish almost nothing of note, except self-congratulations. And just think  —  they will be gathering soon for a special session. I can’t wait. Send in the clowns.

My friends at Georgia Tech think I poke too much fun at their fine institution. That’s not true. Tech is my third-favorite team on the planet. The University of Georgia, the oldest state-chartered university in the nation, located in Athens, the Classic City of the South, is first, of course. Anybody playing Tech is second, which according to my abacus makes Georgia Tech a solid Number Three. I’m glad we could clear that up. (Since grandson Zachary is a rising sophomore at Georgia Tech, I have a feeling this kinder and gentler remark will never see the light of day. The Woman Who Shares My Name won’t think it is a bit funny. Neither will Zack.)

This will delight my Tech friends. Jim Whitehead of Evans is the leading candidate for the 10th Congressional seat of the late Charlie Norwood. The district includes Athens. In 2004, Whitehead, a former football player at UGA, referred to his alma mater as “a bunch of liberals” and said that if it weren’t for the football team we could just do away with the university. He now says it was all a joke. What a kidder. Maybe Jim played too many games without a helmet.

I miss Jimmy Carter. It has been months since President Peanut has graced us with an unsolicited opinion. Maybe he has run out of things to say. Maybe pigs can fly.

Okay, enough of this kinder, gentler business. Time to get back to work. I’ve got a lot of targets waiting to be skewered. I just hope the Woman Who Shares My Name is happy. I hate the thought of balancing the checkbook in dirty underwear.