Apr. 25, 2004: Why Is Everybody So Fussy These Days?

Maybe it’s the phase of the moon or maybe some star is out of whack in the cosmos, but I sure am getting fussed at these days. Even my good deeds don’t go unpunished. I thought I was being extremely magnanimous when I said recently that Georgia Tech had a great basketball season and has a quality coach. A Tech alumnus from Gainesville wrote and said Tech people don’t care what UGA people think — I guess that includes saying Georgia Tech had a great basketball season and has a quality coach. It is probably just as well that I didn’t mention anything about Tech coming in second in the state basketball championship this year. I might have gotten a slide rule upside the head.

Fred of Douglasville gets cranky any time I write about his alma mater, Delta AirLines. I tried to pay a compliment to Delta recently after a skycap was particularly attentive to my son and his family. It didn’t help my standing with Fred one whit. He thought I was picking on Delta again. Fred is miffed with me because one time I said Delta’s bonehead management had given themselves big bonuses while laying off 16,000 people. Fred says that is wrong. Delta didn’t lay off 16,000 living, breathing souls; they eliminated 16,000 jobs — some of which came with living, breathing souls and some of which didn’t. Even though that should clear up the matter, I have a feeling this isn’t going to placate Fred. He’s probably mad at me now for calling Delta’s management “boneheads.” I just can’t win with Fred.

My friends and I enjoy going to Mudcat Charlie’s after playing golf nearby, and I referred to the restaurant as being in Darien. Not so, Darien Mayor David Bluestein says. It is in Glynn County (although it is very near the Darien city limits). Mayor Bluestein enclosed a list of places in Darien where he wants me to eat, and he told me to get my facts straight. I am not sure which he wanted me to do first, but I was afraid to ask. Mayors can get real grumpy if you ask them too many questions.

Even people who believe in extraterrestrials have gotten on my case. I announced that our Ambassador to Outer Space Cynthia McKinney was returning from Mars — where her head lives — to run for her old congressional seat so she can plant a wet kiss on the president whenever he comes to Congress to deliver his annual State of the Union address. (An aside: John Kerry found out that McKinney wet kisses all presidents when they deliver the State of the Union address and tried to back out of running. He relented when Max Cleland told Kerry that if he didn’t run, Cleland would have to go get a real job.) A McKinney supporter — who thinks I am an ignorant redneck, as opposed to flaggers who think I am a no-account Yankee scalawag — wrote and said he was going to enjoy seeing his heroine win and kicking some you-know-what. I believe we would all rather get our you-know-whats kicked by McKinney than receive a wet kiss from her.

A reader took umbrage at my column on the G-8 summit and wanted to know at what high school I learned to write. (It was Russell High School in East Point, but I don’t think he really cared.) He informed me he was listed in American Men and Women in Science, Volume V, Physical and Biological Science, page 366. It seemed important to him that I know that, even though he showed such little interest in my writing experiences at Russell High. I wanted to ask why, if he is so smart, he is reading my columns, but scientists can be every bit as grumpy as mayors if you aren’t careful.

It has been a stressful few weeks for me, but next week’s column should change all that. It is about people who root for Tech, work for Delta, eat at Mudcat Charlie’s, support Cynthia McKinney and are listed in some hoity-toity science book. I can’t wait to see my mail.