Columnist makes, receives comments

By Ned Cantwell

I receive a lot of feedback from readers.

Hardly a year goes by that a reader won’t mention something I’ve written. Here are samples, most of which are actually true.

Here is a fictitious conversation with a reader, based on some things that have really happened:

We noticed that in a recent column you accurately called the famous fire prevention symbol Smokey Bear. That was impressive. People throughout the world get it wrong, calling him Smokey THE Bear. Why do they do that?

Because they are idiots.

Does anyone have a more intelligent reason for this phenomenon?

Yes. Hobbs News-Sun editor Daniel Russell points out the Smokey song incorrectly refers to Smokey The Bear. He also said a Hobbs lady was irritated the column did not mention that a Hobbs citizen, Frank Hines, flew Smokey to his zoo home in Washington.

Certainly, the above is the sum total of your feedback on the Smokey column.

Nope. Reader Tom Slaughter said my reference to a bear looking at a human and thinking “dinner” was inappropriate.

Tom said even in jest we should not depict bears as regarding humans as food. They do not attack, Tom explains, unless cornered or provoked.

They will break into homes and raid refrigerators and pantries, he said, but their most annoying habit when scared is to pee copiously.

Could be we just entered the land of information overload.

Do you think maybe you have exhausted the bear subject?

No doubt about it. But it is a slow news summer.

Are there any other topics nagging you today?

Cell phone companies. How do they get away with making you take a number when you are trying to do business at their offices? Sprint in Albuquerque, Verizon in Alamogordo. Makes no difference. They just won’t hire enough people to handle the demand. It is absurd and customers should not put up with it any longer.

Can you imagine what would happen if you were selling Fords and you say to the customer, take a seat, we’ll try to get to you this afternoon? By then the guy is driving a Toyota.
Boy, howdy, what a mind you have, about as shallow as the Pecos River during a severe drought. Anything else you want to vent?

Pet inheritance. I don’t think people should leave money to their cats and dogs. If they have something left over after their kids are taken care of, I think they should leave it to poor people.

You realize, don’t you, that this is totally not your business and readers are going to forcefully tell you so?

Yes.

Can you identify the silliest controversy in New Mexico at this time?

Sure. It is this business about Billy Kid. Some people doubt history is accurate about who killed Billy Kid and they want to dig him and his mom out of the ground and give them DNA tests. Even the Albuquerque Journal, which should know better, thinks this is a good idea. Talk about shallow minds.
Let Billy Kid and his mom rest in peace.

Excuse me, don’t you mean Billy THE Kid?

You can see just how challenging this column-writing gig can be.

Ned Cantwell is a retired newspaperman living in Ruidoso.

He welcomes column ideas — they don’t have to be good — at:
ncantwell@charter.net