Bulletin editor Gene Deason left us for a few days. (He’s back now, looking tanned and fit. Hey Gene, don’t you have to report those winnings to the IRS?)
Naw, I’m just messing with you. We haven’t yet heard any of Gene’s travel stories (i.e. lost luggage? Stuck for 12 hours on a parked plane? Airline on strike? Airline grounded?). And unlike some people I know, I’ll assume he flew west to make the return flight from Nawth Cowlina to Texas.
Who’d be dumb enough to fly east to get from the East Coast to Texas? Uh, that would be me — or at least I thought I did, as evidenced by a column I wrote last summer.
Now, I was kind of hurt that Gene axed C.C. Fulton, not me, to babysit for the Deasons’ cat. Maybe he didn’t trust me, given my attraction to cats. I wouldn’t have juggled it. You can’t juggle just one cat all by itself, don’t you know.
I did tell Gene he is getting a mention in my column. Gene said he is “honored” and also said it is “tantamount” to being mentioned in Harry Marlin’s column. Harry, Harry, Harry!
Although, as Gene adroitly pointed out, Harry seldom mentions him in his columns but I do. I wonder if Harry is saying right about now, “cat juggler, cat juggler, cat juggler!”
In Gene’s absence, I got reacquainted with some tasks I hadn’t done much of in a month of Sundays.
Like? Like, helping build pages on a computer and writing headlines. Page building can be kind of fun, although I lay no claim to being a brilliant page designer. Ditto for headline writing.
I can’t always define what makes a good good page or a good headline, but as U.S. Supreme Court Potter Stewart once opined, I know it when I see it. Now I know some of you are thinking, you probably didn’t see it much this past week, did you? Now that kind of hurt.
A reader took issue with one of the headlines that spilled from the cat juggler’s hand: “Opportunistic police pull off fast drug sting.” Several Early police officers, assisted by a sheriff’s deputy, orchestrated a hastily organized little sting when an opportunity unexpectedly materialized. I’d always thought being opportunistic was a good thing. When sportscasters talk about a ball-hawking, opportunistic defense, isn’t that good?
Well, maybe not. The reader posted a comment on the Bulletin’s Web site. He cited Merriam Webster online: op•por•tu•nis•tic: “taking advantage of opportunities as they arise, as a: exploiting opportunities with little regard to principle or consequences.”
“These officers were alert, competent, creative, resourceful, cooperative, conscientious, diligent, adroit and observant,” the reader observed in his comment. “ ‘Opportunistic’ is not a compliment.”
I thought, well, surely this is one of those words with multiple definitions and how it’s defined depends on the context. I sought a dictionary myself and read a similar definition, leading me to conclude I had misused that word in a fit of opportunism.
I have no argument with this reader’s observation. I reminded C.C. and fellow co-worker Calvin Brown that I had tasked them with saving me from myself. “If you could use a word that big, I figured you knew what it meant,” C.C. said.
But a couple of other readers posted comments with a different view: “The officers were very opportunistic and it is a compliment,” read one comment. “To ‘exploit a situation’ is not a negative in many cases.” And, “the officers were very opportunistic.”
And the Early police didn’t seem to mind being described as opportunistic. “Didn’t bother us,” Police Chief David Mercer said. “Well, that’s interesting. We never thought anything about it.”
Well, there you go. I guess it depends on what the meaning of the word “opportunistic” is.
Someone has posted comments a couple of times axing about the status of the person from the April 25 article headlined “erratic driver facing drug, DWI charges.”
He is free on bonds of $37,500.
I think that headline was Gene’s. No one has complained that he misused the word “erratic.” He must’ve looked it up.
And, after last week’s motorcycle accident in Early, I thought we would be inundated with comments from the no-helmet advocates. Y’all have been surprisingly quiet.
Steve Nash writes his column for the Brownwood Bulletin on Thursdays. He may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.