So my buddy Sean Johnson, my KODI Sports Nuts comrade Mac and me are having a beer at Millstone when the subject of my column arose.
Fairly new to our burg, Mac asked Sean, “Do you read Doug’s columns?” Anticipating Sean’s biting, unflattering sarcasm, I launched a preemptive strike: “You kiddin’? Sean doesn’t read.”
He hesitated with an expression akin to a boyfriend asked by their beloved trying on workout pants, “Does it make my butt look big?” (I once answered foolishly and they later probably had to mop up tears in the Big Bear store in Billings). So Sean says, “Some of them, but ...” I butted in: “Yeah, you only read the ones I force you to and it takes you weeks.”
His convoluted evaluation continued; “... “He’s supposed to be a humor writer, but some are serious.” I explained I’m not a one-trick pony with no core beliefs, and if he wants all humor, all the time, he should dig out his Flintstones VCR collection.
He goes on to explain in his flawed-logic, “Sometime I can’t tell if he’s joking or serious. It sounds serious, but then he throws in a joke.” Again I impatiently explained, “I recently wrote of my elderly friend Charlie Wynn’s death. “That Sean, is a strong indicator it won’t be slapstick. Should I include one of his great, oft-repeated jokes as a tribute to his keen sense of humor, it remains a serious column which should not throw you for such a loop.
“Conversely, if I begin, ‘If elected mayor, I promise to ban churches from building within a hundred yards of a strip club,’ you have permission to laugh and safely assume it’s humor. If I throw in a serious point, does it cease to be humor?”
I may have gotten too personal with, “What, are ya stupid?”
He suggested to avert confusion, I write a disclaimer before each column, stating my intent – humor or serious. I asked with understandable bewilderment, “Are you joking or actually serious?” Seriously, can you imagine preceding a column about animal abuse, (and it doesn’t get more disgustingly serious than that), I clarify, “This is column is not intended to be funny?”
I knew I was beating a dead horse (which I also don’t condone), but continued: “So you were confused watching the Netflix classic, Dexter? Heck, the Oriental, forensic expert was always making inappropriately hilarious remarks, even as Dexter continued to kidnap, torture and murder unpunished criminals in a non-comedic way.”
Sean does raise a great point though about my Kanye column (excerpts featured in a NYT article as you’re probably unaware) when Kanye and crew first set down roots. As Sean reminded, that column was so obviously tongue-in-cheek, who could have predicted all the “You’re being mean,” tongue-lashings I received on the Enterprise web page? I’m surprised the absurd cancel-culture didn’t boycott until I lost this lucrative gig.
But still, a disclaimer? C’mon; get serious. To Sean I say: “You sir, have no concept of effective writing. Stick to interpreting the written warranty on shingles and perusing dietary guidelines on your Beefaroni cans.” Disclaimer: That was meant to be serious!