Column writing is sort of like that proverbial box of chocolates Forrest Gump’s momma told him about — you never know what reaction you’re gonna get.
Last week, for instance, I wrote about my grandchildren. At last count, I have nine of them, every one of whom is the most intelligent and beautiful kid who ever lived. More importantly, they provide lots of column material.
So I wrote a piece warning that grandparenthood was “an endless round of being hit up fundraisers, band camps, peewee sports teams and class trips.” (If you missed that column, it’s probably online somewhere, but I have absolutely no advice on how to find it.) The column was, of course, highly exaggerated, in keeping with my late friend Erma Bombeck’s counsel to “start with the truth and take it a step beyond.”
The immediate reader reaction was great. And, with all the modesty for which I am universally respected and admired, I quote:
• “Boy, can I ever relate to your column today! From the 700 laps to the fundraisers to Peru! Really funny. I laughed all the way to the end. Thanks for starting my day off on a happy note!”
• “My husband and I got a big laugh from your article this morning. We, too, are victims of the ‘grandkids’ scams.’ Thanks again for starting our day with a laugh!” by Joe Martin
• “We’re smiling from ear to ear reading your Grandkids scam column … too funny and oh so true. Thanks for the laugh.”
Then came this email from a reader in Hawai‘i:
reading the referenced article in this week’s MidWeek. What a dumb loser you are. Only a complete idiot would behave in such a way as you. Wake up. Life is short. Children are God’s greatest gift. Embrace your grandkids. … on the other hand your grandkids are better off without you. Fool.”
That one didn’t surprise me, though. I’ve been doing this writing thing for more