This is officially known as the “Opinion” page of the Clermont Sun. It says so in the upper left corner of the page. Each week my fellow columnists (all of whom I hold in high regard) honor this moniker by ardently sharing their views and perspectives about timely and important issues of the day. Their purpose is not to bloviate (although on occasion one or two may do so) but to challenge your thinking, and perhaps even persuade you to agree with their opinions.
In the midst of these dialectic dissertations the Editor allows me to share some thoughts with you each week. Why he does so is a mystery to me because I’ve long been of the opinion that the thoughts expressed in this column lack intellectual insight, as well as the clever nuance of deductive reasoning so often evidenced in the other opinion columns that appear on this page.
Forgive me for being so harsh, but in my opinion the thoughts expressed by this “freelance writer,” generally, are little more than a dull-witted attempt at lighthearted humor that serves no useful purpose except to bring a smile to your face, and possibly a laugh to your belly. While some may consider this admirable, even praise worthy, it is hardly the stuff that serious opinion columns are made of.
Surprisingly, after all these years the editor has yet to admonish me, even once, for this blatant and at times brazen unwillingness to write anything that is remotely akin to serious commentary. This absence of admonishment does not alleviate my fear that one day you will turn to page A4 to read my column only to discover that it has been buried in the middle of the Legal Notices section of the paper.
I guess you could say I have a bit of a Charlie Brown complex. After all, this was my nickname during my college years. Just like Charlie Brown, I was never good at playing ball when I was a kid, but this never stopped me from wanting to be part of the team. Luckily for me, the Clermont Sun editor (I think his name is Charles Schultz) has a sense of humor and likes my writing so he continues to let me be a member of the opinion columns team.
But this kindness doesn’t diminish the feelings of inferiority and insecurity I feel each week when I compare the opinion columns of my page mates to that which I have written. In my mind I see a little dark haired girl jerking the football (my column) away and saying, “You’re so stupid Charlie Brown.” But then, just like Charlie Brown, I bring my football (my column) back the next week to try again.
Fortunately, like Charlie Brown and the little red-headed girl who believes in him, I have a little blond-headed girl that believes in me. The other night she heard me talking to myself about my column and said, “Charlie Brown, you need to believe in yourself. Do you know what the word opinion means? An Opinion is a personal view that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty, and is not necessarily based on fact.” And then she said, “Nothing you write in your column is ever certain, and it sure isn’t based on fact.” After a long pause she exclaimed, “Good grief, Charlie Brown, do you ever tell the truth?”
Somehow the little blond-headed girl’s words made me feel better. I was thinking of turning over a new leaf in the New Year – to only write about serious opinion stuff – no more made up stories about using my backpack to save myself from fierce critters – no more leaving people wondering whether I ever tell the truth. But thanks to the support of my little blond-headed girlfriend I’ve decided I’m not going to change a thing. I just hope the Editor doesn’t lose his sense of humor.
(Postscript: I had an idea for a serious column this week, but when I sat down to write it this is what came out.)
George Brown is a freelance writer. He and his little blond-headed girlfriend live in Jackson Township.