I often joke, like many others at the newspaper, that I’m responsible only for what I write, not what you read. That’s why I’m hardly ever shocked by emails and letters (and the occasional anonymous phone call) that claim I’m one thing or another when they’re far from the truth. People see what they want to see.
So let’s look at a few of the things I’m not.
🗳 A political columnist. While some subjects I write about involve politics (especially when it comes to fact-checking), that’s not my focus … chiefly because I’m really not a fan. Sure, I minored in political science in college, but that was in concert with my major—you have to try to understand a thing in order to write about it with any credibility.
What I specialize in is words, fact-checking/logic, and human behavior, and yes, occasionally politics gets tangled in there on a tangential basis, which is unavoidable in today’s world. However, I leave the political nitty-gritty and analysis to those far more plugged in than I am, like John Brummett and Bradley Gitz.
I’m not a policy wonk; my eyes will glaze over the moment someone starts to talk about the fine details of a bill. I do, though, have a very nerdy passion for the sociological side—how the practice of politics affects people, from confirmation bias to civility to cognitive dissonance to whatever else is having an impact at the time.
Speaking of, timeliness has an effect on what I write if it happens to be attached to something in the news, such as last Monday’s indictments and my Wednesday column on whataboutism. Had Hillary Clinton or one of her associates been indicted and she then spent hours whatabouting on Twitter, perhaps that would have been what I wrote about. But that didn’t happen. And a reminder for some people out there who keep complaining about her being in the news: She’s not president, so far has not been charged with violating the law, and the many conspiracy theories about her and Bill have not been fruitful. Maybe if you’d stop bringing her up, much of this would die down.
Yeah, who am I kidding? Someone must take the blame for everything that goes wrong in the world. I know Bill is responsible for my not being able to find Loeb’s Onion Crunch at the store. Damn him.
🚩 An extremist. I don’t like absolutists, and that’s what most extremists seem to be. (And people who are just to the left or right of you most likely aren’t extremists, so stop saying they are. You’re annoying the hell out of me.)
If I want a review of current laws, and enforcement of sensible gun laws including universal background checks, that doesn’t mean that I want to ban all guns (seriously, people, that’s not going to happen here). If I advocate choice, it doesn’t mean that I back abortion on demand up to the point of birth (who the hell does that?); it means that even if I wouldn’t personally have an abortion, the option should be available safely and legally to those who need it, and the decision should be between a woman and her doctor.
Few things in life involving humans have just two completely opposite sides. Shades of gray abound, and what seems simple to absolutists doesn’t quite work in real life. Then again, so many seem to live in a fantasy world of their own making …
🎯 A party animal. I care deeply about a lot of things, but my politics tend toward the center, as does the majority. It may be center-left on some things and center-right on others, and hold the phone, on still others it might just be a bit libertarian (or a lot). I’m no fan of the president (hey, I like people who weren’t captured … on tape saying things their grandmas would smack them for), but I’m no fan of Hillary either, and would probably (hell, definitely) do a happy dance if she decided to retire completely from public life … if just so I could watch hyperpartisans scramble to find someone else to decry as the font of all evil.
It’s the little things that amuse me sometimes. Besides, the font of all evil is clearly Comic Sans, which is why I love to use it to annoy certain touchy typophiles when I’m bored.
🐶 A female dog. I will fight if I have to, but seriously, most of the time it’s not worth it unless lives or the future are on the line. You weren’t printed? Check what you wrote; if you called a fellow letter-writer stupid or something similarly inflammatory, or said someone was a criminal who has not been convicted of a crime, or you stated as fact something that isn’t, that just might be why—instead of the reason being me just wanting to remake the page in my ultra-left-wing image … you know, the one that doesn’t exactly exist.
People, I want letters from all sides for the Voices page, but if I can’t verify information …
And hey, though there are some female dogs I absolutely love (Audi Martin and her sisters Paris and Dublin come to mind, as does my parents’ late and beloved noogie-loving Pepper), I would be a cat (naturally, duh): pretty much a loner except when it suits me to bug humans, not afraid to speak my mind even if it’s in the middle of the night and no one’s listening, and content to just watch the world outside the window and provide occasional commentary. The litter-box thing, though … not so much. I haven’t needed an audience when I use the bathroom since I was a toddler.
What I actually am is something else. My identity is not wrapped up in what I write … except for maybe my Sunday blog posts that tend toward the furry/funny things in life (because we all need a break from all that’s happening).
I’m a crazy cat lady still without a cat because I’m just not ready for another one yet. Apparently I need to adopt a complete jerk of a cat so I won’t love him so much. Luke was only a partial jerk, as his cat contract stipulated. Most of the time he was just a goofy fluffball.
I’m a little sister with three big brothers I love dearly but who sometimes drive me nuts, especially since they’re too far away for me to whack them on the back of the head when they really deserve it. And they pretty much always deserve it, let’s be honest. Big brothers usually do.
I’m the only daughter of a mom who has persevered over the past 15 years through the deaths of her husband and parents as well as a battle with renal cancer that turned her hair white, but left her intelligence and weird sense of humor intact (where do you think I got it?). Our twice-daily phone calls are one of the highlights of my day.
And I’m the proud granddaughter of a World War II Navy veteran who served on the hospital ship USS Hope in the Pacific. Like many from his generation, he never really talked about the experiences he had during the war, but was proud of his service and his country. A few years after he died, we found a small notebook where he kept a log of things that happened at sea, but it didn’t shed a lot of light. No matter; he was the best grandpa I could hope for, and had a wry wit that kept me giggling.
To Grandpa and everyone else who ever served: I salute you and thank you for your service, which enables me to ramble on like this.
Don’t you go blaming them for that, though.