Column #93 Dear Debbie (from Tulsa?)
September 1, 2000
Dear Debbie (from Tulsa?)
I recently received your nasty little letter. So you’re from Tulsa, eh?
“You suck,” it began. “You’re sexist. What you write is insulting to your readers and, besides, you don’t know squat about darts.” At first, of course, I myself was insulted. Who wouldn’t be? Then I realized that your communication was actually quite a compliment. I never really knew I had real live actual readers.
Seriously, Debbie, I took your perfumed little note to heart and want to take the opportunity, here and now, to apologize to you and your friends. I also want to apologize to my wife (who’s a great cook, by the way), my daughter (who’s also quite a cook), my mother (you betcha — she makes an outstanding meatloaf), my dead cockapoo Shirley, and all members of the female persuasion everywhere — even if they are fat, sluts, lesbians or can’t hit a double in heels. I do not mean to be offensive.
The truth is, as in the paragraph above, I do go slightly over the edge sometimes. I know I do. I try not to — really I do. It just happens. My wife even vets my columns to ensure I don’t piss anyone off. Still, sometimes I just plain screw up. So honestly, Debbie, I am sorry. Let’s meet sometime, have a drink and talk. Wear heels.
What pisses me off is your comment that I don’t know “squat” about darts. Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that this is just not so. What I don’t know squat about is how to throw them.
It’s extremely difficult, you know — and I’ve learned this the hard way over the past five or six years of writing this column — to know these days just exactly what is politically correct. Besides, even you, Debbie — the actual reader — would have to agree — what’s politically correct is often also extremely boring. Would you have written to me if I hadn’t grabbed your attention?
Consider this. Suppose I began a column with: “The crowd grew silent. Toeing the line, with one dart remaining, was someone whose race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or political leaning is none of your damn business …”. Would you read that crap? Of course not.
But if the story began: “The crowd grew silent. Toeing the line, with one dart remaining, was Abu Bakr Bin Abdulla, formerly a Black Panther, but now a transvestite, Muslim terrorist…”, you’d move quickly to the next paragraph to learn whether or not Abdullah stabbed his opponent and blew up the joint after he missed the double. You know you would.
And that’s exactly my point. Color is what inquiring minds crave.
People don’t want to read that the late Bucky Bakalac “stepped to the line.” People want the details — they want to feel the moment. They want to be there. What people want to know is that Bucky “took out his game shot in an inebriated state from a prone position while sipping vodka through a straw in a mug shaped like Rocky the Squirrel”. This actually happened.
People just plain do not care if Jim Poliquin told me “thus and such”. What people want to know is that he “buttonholed me at a tournament in Winchester, Virginia, tied me up with rope and told me whatever it was he told me 102 times over a 14-hour period”. This actually happened, too.
And I’ll tell you one more thing people don’t want to know. People don’t want to know that Tina DeGregorio “hit a nice shot”. They already assume she hit a nice shot. What people want to know is how short Tina’s skirt was, what color it was and how nicely it was coordinated with her blouse and heels. Yes, Debbie, Tina can hit a double in heels.
So, Debbie, cut me some slack. And if you’re really from Dallas, as I suspect, be woman enough to admit it.
From the Field,
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