Stupid things I have said, 2005 edition

In what has become an annual tradition, I wish to mark my fourth anniversary as a Daily Post columnist by reviewing some of the stupid things I've said over the past 12 months. Inexplicably, this column seems to get easier to write each year.

For example, early in January, assessing our Christmas gift-giving performance, I wrote that "my wife and I have decided next year we won't get [our children] quite as many expensive toys." Eleven months later and a week into this year's shopping season, I can honestly say we have lived up to that resolution. Everyone knows PlayStations, iPods, laptop computers and personal DVD players are not "toys."

Another statement I made last January may or may not qualify as stupid. Writing about Gwinnett's then-newly-refurbished county commission and school board, I said, "Whether or not you agree with [members of those bodies], you have to give them this: They're not scum-sucking weasels."

Since then, we've had revelations of gambling junkets, a scandal over apparent non-compliance with open-meetings laws and a pair of top teachers summarily dismissed. Scum-suckery? Weaselish? You decide.

In February, after a frustrating attempt to purchase a discount plane ticket over the phone, I wrote that it's no wonder the airlines are losing money, given the industry's standard array of "rude customer service reps, interminable delays, lost luggage and phantom sale fares."

That characterization so offended a retired airline employee - "the voice on the other end of the phone," as she called herself - that she e-mailed me to say she "found my column insulting" and that "my momma would be ashamed" of me.

Mortified, I sent the following reply: "Thank you for taking the time to write. Also, if you were indeed the voice on the other end of the phone, thank you for retiring."

In June, I wrote that "golf is more than just a silly game in which grown men strike little white balls with sticks." In retrospect, I've decided that golf is precisely that.

In May, writing about Joint Enrollment - allowing high school students to take college courses - I said that public schools are little more than "government-sponsored mind control." The stupid part is that I was talking about mind control for students. Turns out, teachers are the real victims.

And finally, in September - in the midst of the post-Katrina gas panic - I argued that we should re-evaluate our commuting habits. "It's high time," I wrote, "we brought mass transit to the masses."

Silly me. I should have known Gwinnett County would never go for that. And besides, the DOT has a better idea: Instead of spending millions to decrease the number of cars on the highways, let's use that money to redesign the 316/85 interchange so we can accommodate even more cars.

Making the rest of us miserable for the next four years - well, that's just a bonus.

E-mail Rob Jenkins at rjenkinsgdp@yahoo.com.