I AM A LOCAL VOICE. It says so right here in the paper. Look, up at the top of this column. It’d be nice if I could be a disembodied voice, but they had to go putting my picture in the paper. It's sorta like a mug shot. Has the same kind of effect.
Once, while in Amante's Pizza in Carrboro, I was minding my own business, ordering a pizza, which is, I would think, what someone should do in Amante's Pizza in Carrboro. The order-taking guy looked at me kinda funny and then said, "You're the guy in the paper, aren't you?" I said, "Maybe," not being certain where this might lead.
He turned around and came back with a copy of the Chapel Hill Herald. He looked at the editorial page, then at me. I was afraid it was the edition with "Hooters' Carrboro encounter," my news report on a new restaurant coming to town, or perhaps the edition that included "Carrboro proclaims June ‘Bathe French Month’." I didn't know.
Fortunately, the pizza turned out to be tasty and non-toxic. Still, as you can tell, authoring this column can be harrowing.
As another example, a Local Voice may be accosted in the halls of the Dean Dome by fervent fans. OK, it was one fan and not all that fervent. Still, it can be awkward having someone laugh while telling you that he really "likes" your columns -- "especially the sarcastic ones."
Well, let's get this straight, I do not write sarcastic columns, any idiot could see that. So, obviously, Greg is not any idiot. I write spooferic columns in which I juxtapose an artificial reality with actual reality to see which is sillier. Often they come to draw.
But we should cut Greg some slack. He works for OWASA, our local governmental sewer authority. (I won't embarrass Greg unduly with his co-workers by repeating his name, 'cause he's a nice Feller.)
Greg says I should publish a book of my columns. How quaint! Words in ink on paper. Something like those tomes they keep in archival repositories for future historians to examine. Get with the 21st Century, Greg! I write my words with electrons!
Now why would anybody want to cut down a beautiful conifer or a flowering poplar to make paper, polluting the environment (sorry, Chapel Hill Herald), when he, she or it could log on to GaryGaddy.com and, using electrons (saving numerous protons and neutrons) to read my collected columns, especially when the same trees could be used to make Charmin® with Absorbent Cushions™ (So You Can Use Less!)?
If I haven't made my point already, a little while back I found out something very disturbing. They read my column in Danville, Virginia. (This is one under-reported problem with the World Wide Web.) George Davis, George Washington Davis, to be more exact, who went to elementary, junior high and high school with me, reads my column -- and pays attention. Think about it. This means some of my facts now have to be more factual.
Finally, I get putative readers suggesting, "You could put me in your column." No, Moody, I cannot. I cannot put every Tom, Dick and Moody Smith in my column just because they ask me too. (Moody, you may or may not recall, is the person who wrongly accused me of wrongly claiming to have beaten Ludwig Wittgenstein in chess -- which I most certainly did.)
Moody thinks that bringing my attention to a great Mark Twain quote, one that I probably will use in my column sometime if I can figure how to do it, as it speaks volumes about the cultural ethos of the high art of this age ("Wagner's music is better than it sounds."), will get him a columnar citation.
Sorry, Dr. Smith, Twain said it, not you.
Gary D. Gaddy is a Local Voices columnist.
A version of this column was published in the Chapel Hill Herald Thursday May 14, 2009.
Copyright 2009 Gary D. Gaddy