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Last week, when this column was posted on the Facebook page of one of the newspapers in which it appears, a reader took time out of his busy schedule to comment on the post. I am sure it was a well-thought-out comment. I’m certain he composed his words carefully and commented the best response he could to a social media post.
While I took his comments under advisement, I did not take them to heart because in this business, if you do that, you are proverbial dead meat. While the urge to comment on a Facebook post is great, restraint must be exercised. However, when you poke the humor columnist bear with a stick, you might just wind up in the newspaper.
I will call this person “Who Cares.” If you notice the lack of punctuation, most notably a question mark, it is because this is the comment that was left on the Facebook post. While it did not upset or anger me, I did see it for what it was. This is obviously a cry for help and attention.
I am known as a reasonably kind and generous man, so I am taking this opportunity to reach out to Who Cares and offer my assistance. Please, Who Cares, let me know what I, the newspaper columnist, can do for you. You have reached out your hand, and I am taking it. Please lead the way.
What you do not see, Who Cares, is this is not serious news. This is not hard-hitting journalism of any sort. I think most of the readers would agree that this is an oasis from the constantly depressing and meanspirited journalism we see, say, on television. These are columns about the mundane things in life, sometimes with a dose of nostalgia or a dash of humor, or once in a great while, a little of each.
The column is not meant to mean anything. In some newspapers it’s wedged between the obituaries and the bridge column and it often pushed aside if the high school football games were exciting. I was once bumped in favor of the television listings, but to quote you, “Who Cares?”
I could write about the Dempublicans and the Republocrats. I don’t. There’s enough humor coming out of Washington on both sides of the aisle that I don’t believe I could add anything.
Quite honestly, Who Cares, if you take a moment to look at the websites of the major news outlets, you will see most of it is redundant, biased and redundantly biased. In contrast, the contents of the junk drawer in my kitchen are far more entertaining. I can assure you The Washington Post is not writing about the ball of twine in Bob Woodward’s desk drawer.
The point I am making here, Mr. Who Cares (Can I call you Who? WC? Do you prefer Mr. Cares?) is there is never any point to this column. I have dabbled in rhyme and I have dabbled in reason, but I can assure you, WC, I have never combined the two. That would be dangerously close to responsible journalism and I will never be accused of such a thing.
My readers look for an escape. They look for a release. There is just too much negativity and bad news in the world. I think that’s one thing you and I can agree upon. There are wars and political scandals and celebrities doing unspeakable things. There is a big, bad world out there that we are exposed to constantly in an instant news cycle.
I don’t know you, Mr. Who Cares. I cannot with any authority say whether you are a good guy or a bad guy. Me? I’m just a guy who puts words together in the newspaper. Some people like the words and some people don’t.
As far as the ones who don’t? Who cares?
Joe Weaver, a native of Baltimore, is a husband, father, pawnbroker and gun collector. From his home in New Bern, he writes on the lighter side of family life.