Dear readers: Rock on, but I’m not that old

By Ned Cantwell

You just know it is not going to be a fun morning when you click the “in box” and the subject line of the very first e-mail says, “Your article sucks.”

Worse than that, there comes a time when you long for the day when the governor’s office ignored you. It took a lot of drum beating to get Billy Sparks, the governor’s press guy, to notice the column.

Last week, Billy’s running mate Gilbert Gallegos let me have it. Gilbert is the deputy director of communications and he corrected my erroneous report that the guv took it upon himself to declare the hot air balloon the Official State Aircraft.

A column alleged the governor is just drunk with power or perhaps sugar-jazzed on too many super-sized Snickers bars.

“I know this doesn’t quite fit your ‘drunk with power’ theory, but Governor Richardson did not unilaterally declare the hot air balloon as the Official State Aircraft,” Gilbert wrote. “The Legislature did, in fact, pass a bill (SB13), sponsored by Sen. Steve Komadina, which went through the committee process. The governor signed the bill into law and held a signing ceremony with Sen. Komadina.”

This column is nothing if not fair and balanced — I report, you decide — and so I take this opportunity to offer heartfelt apology to Gov. Bill. For the record, he is not drunk with power. However, I am sticking by the Snickers bar theory.

The writer who thinks my column sucks started out gently: “Perhaps you should get off your high and mighty horse, you old hack.” That was written by a fellow who identifies himself as “Vineel.” I take serious umbrage with that charge. I am not that old.

Vineel was irritated with a column that criticized a Clovis fellow for decorating his yellow Ford Focus with she-devil decals and whose right to do so was being defended by the American Civil Liberties Union. Vineel writes, “Just like you wouldn’t want to find stuff saying ‘god and religion is (BS)’, I don’t want to see crap like nativity scenes on public property … Then, about the ACLU fighting for that guy’s rights of having those she-devils, I say rock on.”

The disputed column referred to banana yellow Ford Focuses. That prompted someone who calls himself “Carey” in Carlsbad to take issue with my grammar. The plural of focus is “foci,” insists Carey. Now there’s an old boy who is not getting the miles per gallon he once did.

Just when I thought it was time for someone to say something nice, along comes Joel from Ruidoso who saw my column about Bill Richardson as an attack on the hot air balloon.

Much like Vineel, Joel got right to the point: “Ned, you probably think you are cute and clever with your whining but honestly … I think you ought to just crawl in some little hole somewhere and maybe whine about the darkness there, although with your poorly placed humor, you would undoubtedly delight in the darkness as that seems to be your wont these days.”

Ouch! But, hey, rock on. This is America. People can and should express themselves. On the other hand, when all a guy gets are nasty letters, I think that just, well, sucks.

Ned Cantwell is a retired newspaperman who is especially grateful to Wanda Spencer in Carlsbad who wrote, “Thanks for making my Sunday morning coffee enjoyable.” Contact him at: