I came out of the closet a few years ago, admitting the authorship of “Dear Abby” columns in newspapers. It began when my identity was exposed by a composing room boo-boo that placed my picture over a “Dear Abby” column.
It turned out to be beneficial, however, because I no longer have to pretend to be a humor columnist, hiding my real name, Abby, under a bushel.
It could have been worse. I might have been a cigar-smoking, bald headed lady with big ears writing under the nom de plume “Bob Huber.” (That’s so complicated, I’m not sure I meant what I said or said what I meant.)
The upshot is, I’m willing to expand that thought today. Meanwhile, I’ll first define the term “upshot” just to muddy the waters a little. It’s the final shot in an archery match. There, there, just a weak attempt at scholarlyism.
What I really want to do today is answer some letters to “Dear Bobby” that some smarty shoved in my mail box. These letters will inform you pessimists who keep yakking about our society going to hell in a hand basket that some folks are desperate enough to write a letter to a humor columnist. I wish they’d learn to spell.
But anyway, for clarity’s sake, I’ll use my real false name, or maybe my false real name, just to keep things straight. Is that clear? Good, here we go:
DEAR BOBBY: One time you wrote about all noise coming from your local college campus. People were yelling, “The Mississippi kites are coming!” over and over. What does that mean, and does an asafetida bag really work? Georgia Peach.
DEAR GEORGIA: If you had read past the headline, you’d have noticed that I revealed the true identity of Mississippi kites. They’re not birds. They’re Martian aliens bent on reducing us to quivery blobs of Jell-O by swooping down and smacking us on the head. They are characterized by nasty attitudes and tiny Confederate flags on their tail feathers. You’ll find them on display in Roswell museums with a recording that says, “Beam me up, Scotty. There’s no intelligent life down here.”
DEAR BOBBY: I’ve been hanging around colleges for 30 years in my capacity as a ukulele professor, and I haven’t had any culture rub off on me. How I can get some? Folks keep looking at me and screaming, “Gaaugh! Gaaugh!” The only culture stuff I know are the words to the song “Water” by the Sons of the Pioneers. Outa Focus
DEAR OUTA: I too sought culture once. I was that kid who followed other kids home and made their parents yell, “Yipes!” Folks fed me scraps on the back porch, and then said, “Go home! Git!” Then one day I discovered the Peter Rabbit series in the stacks of our local library. It was tucked between books on delicate wines and paintings of naked fat ladies. Well, my life changed right then and there, because I haven’t been able to eat rabbit since. I haven’t missed it much.
DEAR BOBBY: I want to know my rights. What are they? You can throw in a few privileges too. Mack the Knife.
DEAR MACK: If you’re like me, you probably have more rights than you really want, but some are important. For instance, for years I’ve exercised the right to avoid asking directions. I just keep going until I run out of gas. I also have the right to watch all football on TV, tell tall fishing stories without being interrupted by a wife, trade cars without guilt trips, grow a beard, and eat as much as I want, spit in the wind, swear occasionally in mixed company, and go without shaving. As you get older, Mack, you’ll also have the right to get fat, dirty, and disgusting. It happens anyway, but doesn’t it feel good to have it in writing?
DEAR BOBBY: What is e-mail, and how do you spell it? FUMBLE FINGERS.
DEAR FUMBLE: Here’s a blueprint of e-mail: Your server takes your message and chops it into little pieces and sends these parts hither and yon, mostly yon, until one or two pieces hook up with someone else’s pieces floating around. A signal is then sent for all the pieces to get together. That’s it in a nutshell, “nutshells” being the term that best describes the hats worn by the guys who thought up this system. They’re usually caps worn backwards. I hope this gives you some comfort. Write if you find work.