This has been a fun year in the news business, both in New Mexico and beyond our borders.
Our state, not without her pressing problems, has spent an inordinate amount of time wondering where Billy the Kid is buried and whether lawman Pat Garrett really shot the popular outlaw dead a century ago.
This drama reached its apex last month when Gov. Bill Richardson appointed a lawyer to represent Billy the Kid. That lawyer was, of course, Mark Garregos who immediately called a press conference to announce Billy the Kid was killed by a band of hippies traveling through Lincoln County in a beat up van.
No, wait, I have my stories mixed up. The lawyer for Michael Jackson and Scott Petersen turned down the Billy the Kid case, reportedly the first time he has ever passed on a celebrity defense.
Actually, the lawyer representing Billy the Kid is Bill Robbins of Santa Fe who is involved in a battle over whether Billy’s mom — God rest her soul if not her bones — should be exhumed and DNA tested. I mean, really.
Lawyer Robbins, it should be noted, is doing all this without pay. So, perhaps, we take from this a lesson appropriate to the season: (Beware! A really, really, cheap shot incoming!) You have to be dead 100 years before a lawyer will do something nice for you.
Elsewhere, there has been a lot of news this year about girls kissing girls. Aging pop star Madonna started it all when she kissed nubile pop star Brittany.
Hey, that’s showbiz, and we are all immune. Not so with the behavior of two high school girls in Maryland who were suspended after they jumped onto a cafeteria table and kissed one another in protest of something or other.
There were shocked reverberations from all quarters, including those who fretted about what effect these antics have on teenaged boys who are preoccupied with sex in the first place.
One commentator observed that teen boys think about girls 24/7. That is so not true! Let’s dispel this notion that high school boys are one-dimensional lunkheads who stumble around the hallways with visions of Dallas Cowgirls dancing in their heads.
Young men think about other things, too. Like cheeseburgers. Boys think a lot about cheeseburgers. And being rock stars. Boys think a lot about touring the country in a rock band so they can meet thousands of girls and have plenty of money for cheeseburgers.
When Stephanie Haaser jumped on the cafeteria table to kiss her friend Katherine, classmate Kyle was heard to protest, “Ah, come on, Steph, you squashed my cheeseburger!”
Here’s the kicker for me. Not the kiss, but the aftermath. River Hill High School officials said they were proud of their diversity and pointed out the school had recently celebrated National Coming Out Day.
Excuse me? Why, by all that’s sane, would any high school in the country celebrate National Coming Out Day? And be proud of it?
It’s all a mystery to me. I can’t help but wonder what Billy the Kid thinks about all this. Wherever he is.
Ned Cantwell is a retired newspaperman living in Ruidoso.