Sep. 14, 2003: Mr. Yahoo, The Well-Groomed, Redneck Scalawag, Reads His Mail

I have had my backside chewed good and proper this week by irate readers and I’m not sure why. The Woman Who Shares My Name says it is because I go out of my way to be irritating and that if I act ugly, then others will too. “Pretty is as pretty does” is her motto. I make it a point never to argue with Her Highness, but I think the reaction this week is more complicated than that. My personal opinion is that people are fussy because Mars is closer to Earth than it has been in 60,000 years. You can almost feel the negative vibes. If Mars is to blame, I won’t have to endure another week like this one until the year 2287 when the red planet drops by for another visit. I plan to be retired by then.

One reader accused me of being a redneck Ku Klux Klan member and wondered where I hid my white sheet. The reader obviously knows nothing about me. I don’t have the foggiest idea where sheets are stored in my house. Only last week I discovered our dining room is wallpapered.

As I was reeling from that blow to my fragile psyche, a disgruntled flagger (I think that is redundant) made sure I knew he is “not a loyal reader” and that he had never heard of me. Even so, he was able to place me squarely in the “scalawag” category because he had heard that I said flaggers spend more time looking backwards than forward. He promised — nay, threatened — that the flaggers are going to get on my case big time. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that if he had been a loyal reader, he would know flaggers have been on my case for quite a while, which brings up an interesting point. If you have to threaten people to make your case, how good a case is it? Somebody needs to tell flaggers that they should be making friends, not creating enemies. In the meantime, I am contemplating the fact that I may be the only redneck scalawag in captivity. My brain hurts just thinking about it.

A partisan Democrat didn’t like my recent in-depth analysis of his party’s presidential candidates and suggested that, after looking at my photograph, who was I to criticize Rep. Dick Gephardt for using too much hairspray? Good point. I must remember next time not to comb my hair before having my picture made. The reader also provided a spirited defense for several of the other candidates, including North Carolina Senator John Edwards. I may be mistaken, but I believe this is the first time in recorded history that anyone has ever said anything nice about a trial attorney. I plan to save this letter.

One of the problems with a name like “Yarbrough” is that it is frequently misspelled. Most of the time, people want to add an extra “o” between the “b” and the “r”. One reader, who had a disagreement with something I said, botched my name terribly. He addressed me as “Mr. Yahoo.” Under the circumstances, I thought it best not to correct him.

Truth in advertising requires that I mention that many of you agreed with me on several issues, including the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. We want to be a forgiving people, but the magnitude of the attacks and the attitudes of many in the Arab world toward the attacks is making forgiveness difficult. The most thoughtful letter I received was from a Muslim gentleman who is as embarrassed at the antics of some in his faith as I am at narrow-minded Bible thumpers who believe they are the only ones who will get to heaven. I just wish more Muslims would speak out as eloquently as did this reader.

Now that Mars has gone off to harass Jupiter or Uranus for a while, maybe we can all stop being such fussbudgets. We live in a great country. Georgia is the greatest state in the union. Let’s take a deep breath and admit that life is good. Even for a well-groomed, redneck scalawag named Mr. Yahoo.