As you probably realize by now, I spare no effort in welcoming a new fan into my fan base — the sidelines pass at the Super Bowl, the bass guitar lessons from Paul McCartney, the private cat juggling lessons. It’s a happy occasion for both me and each new fan.
I got no use for cheaters, don’t you know. And one of you has tried to cheat by getting named twice to my fan base. Where I come from, we call that double dipping.
Git a rope.
It started out as a happy time as I prepared to welcome — or so I thought — fan number 42. The would-be fan introduced hisself to me through an envelope, addressed to your cat juggler, that bore neither name nor return address.
“Must be hate mail, don’t you know,” I said as I tore open the envelope. I saw that it contained a clipping of one of my recent columns with several red circles.
“You really are a moron — your articles make no sense at all,” the person wrote in red ink at the top of the clipping.
Wow! They like me … they really like me. I started preparing the welcoming package for the supposed fan number 42.
“You’re like the Statue of Liberty,” said one of my co-workers, Johnson., referring to the “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” inscription.
“’I take the depressed, the people who don’t like me, the people who won’t sign their letters …’” Johnson said.
Not so fast. Of all the columns in all the towns in all the world, this pretender, this interloper, this fake fan, walks into mine.
Do you deny that I had welcomed you as fan number 41 in a July 12 column? I referenced your unsigned letter to another co-worker complaining that she allegedly uses “poor grammar.”
“And punctuation,” the mystery guest reminded me in a red-inked notation in clipping of that July 12 column he sent. Ah …ha!This clearly shows clearly that the author of the unsigned letter to my co-worker, and the author of the unsigned letter to your cat juggler, are the one and only.
Other proof: In the July 12 column, I quoted my co-worker: “What I really hate is that she was mean to my mother.” In the clipping of the column, the author corrected the pronoun “she” to he,” and did so in several other places.
You weren’t satisfied with being fan number 41. You made a try at being number 42 as well, and you nearly succeeded. But I caught your attempted deception. And I hereby banish you from my fan base. Fan Begone! Away with you, don’t you know. And I’ll bet your name’s not even Johnson.
“Think how miserably unhappy that person must be,” my co-worker said — not because of the fan scandal he caused, but because he apparently has nothing better to do than sending people unsigned letters.
Ex-fan 41, you are hereby replaced by a new 41, who is also a co-worker, also named Johnson. She gently pointed out that my recent reference to Jan “Brady Bunch” Brady getting hit in the nose with a football wasn’t quite right. It was Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!
That had already dawned on me before Johnson sent me a corrective e-mail. I was horrified when I realized my mistake. “What was I thinking?” I thought.
“Can I still be a fan?” Johnson axed.
“Fandom is yours,” I assured her. But I realized I never formerly welcomed her to the base. I’m correcting that oversight here and now, don’t you know.
Off on a tangent … Johnson, the new 41, noted the letters to the editor two people kept writing in response to each other, expressing differing opinions. “Can’t they just call each other?” Johnson axed.
Off on another tangent … And the cat juggler nods, and nods some more: In last week’s column, I referred to flying east to get from New York to Texas. Most people would probably fly west to accomplish that. What was I thinking?
“Wrong-way Nash,” the co-worker with bad grammar (and punctuation) said. But one of the Johnsons did point out that you could get from New York to Texas by flying east — it would just take awhile.
Off on yet another tangent … you know life is getting too complicated when:
Happy Meals toys come with instructions.
A cash register in a store won’t take a check, and the machine doesn’t know what to do.
Your 9-year-old tries to steer you through the self-checkout, saying “I’ll show you how to do it, Dad.”
Steve Nash writes his column for the Brownwood Bulletin on Thursdays. He may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.