This week marks six years since I began writing a weekly column, although for those of you who have been with me since the beginning, I know it only feels like a decade.
One of the true joys of appearing in your mailbox or on your device each week is building relationships. Some of you have been kind enough to send messages along the way, and while I try to answer each one, I may have missed a few. So just in case, I'm observing this anniversary by taking the lazy columnist’s way out. It's called the mailbag column.
Here are a few of the comments, complaints and queries that have come my way.
Dear David: I thoroughly enjoy your column each week. Who writes it for you? This may come as a surprise, but I write each word myself, especially the ones that are misspelled or grammatically incorrect. I mean, honestly. If I could find someone to write it for me, don't you think I'd hire someone good?
Dear David: Unlike other newspaper columnists, you generally steer clear of politics. In my house, that's all we talk about. What are you afraid of? I actually have mentioned politics a few times. But no matter what I write, it seems to make someone mad, and that's not my goal. If I wrote, “Here’s a salute to Senator Balderdash Gollywhopper, who recently handed out hundred dollar bills and healed the sick,” half the readers would reply, “What took him so long? He's just another sorry, lowdown (insert political party here).”
Dear David: What advice do you have for procrastinators? That’s a good question. Let me get back to you on that.
Dear David: You seem easygoing. When’s the last time you were really angry?” Oddly enough, it just happened a few days ago. A major storm was headed our way, and some TV stations, including mine, broke into regular programming to inform viewers about the storm's path, and to offer some safety tips. Many of the viewers were outraged, calling in and yelling, “Shut up! Nobody cares about the weather!” After the storm had passed with no major damage, some said, “See, I told you so! We didn't even get a tornado!” Honestly, I think some of them were disappointed about that. Better luck next time, I guess.
Dear David: You seem to love bad jokes and painful puns. Do you have any saved up, that you're just dying to use? I have to admit, I've been waiting to use this one for decades, throughout my broadcasting career. For some reason, it has never come up. When and if it does, I'll be ready. If there's ever a wreck on the freeway (not a serious one, I hope) involving a fruit truck, with oranges, grapes, and strawberries spilling out onto the road, I want to call it a traffic jam. Just so I can hear the groans from miles away.
Dear David, what's the worst part about getting older? Well, that could be any number of things, but lately it's been working with so many young people. Don't get me wrong, they're great kids. But whenever I make references to “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” or write down something in my old-timey paper calendar, the millennials look at me as if I just shuffled off Noah's ark. The other day I referred one of my youthful friends to a co-worker who I then noticed was deep in conversation. I said, “We'll have to ask him later,” I said. “His line is busy.” I got the blank stare. “You see, back when we had wired telephones...ahh, never mind.”
Dear David, you people in the media always act like you're smarter than everyone else. I’ll bet you do stupid stuff too. Why don’t you fess up? What, like when I walk out of a restaurant with my receipt after I've signed it, carrying out that little holder with the receipt AND my credit card? Like when I leave my sunglasses or umbrella at every ball game I've ever attended? And when I pull away from the bank drive-thru with that tube canister on my front seat? Nope, there’s nothing to fess up about.
Dear David: Do you get offended when a waitress calls you “Honey” or “Sweetheart?” I'm more offended when they don't, Darlin.
Dear David: I enjoy your columns about Facebook fails and spellcheck blunders. What’s the best one you’ve seen lately? I guess it would be the one from the woman who was sharing some health information about her husband. “Please keep him in your thoughts. He may need surgery for his enlarged prostitute.”
Dear David: You’re getting old. Do you know what you would like on your tombstone? Absolutely. I’ve decided on, “I told you I was sick.”
David Carroll, a Chattanooga news anchor, is the author of “Volunteer Bama Dawg,” available on his website, ChattanoogaRadioTV.com. You may contact him at email@example.com, or 900 Whitehall Road, Chattanooga, TN 37405.