In what's become an annual tradition, each December I revisit some of the less intelligent statements I've made over the past year. Usually I don't have to look very hard.
For example, last February, after suggesting that the state's newest four-year institution, Georgia Gwinnett College, adopt Razorbacks as its mascot, I received the following e-mail from a fan named Dan (no rhyme intended): "Ever hear of the Arkansas Razorbacks? We own that name. Find something else, dude."
I responded, "Yes, I believe I have heard of the Arkansas Razorbacks. Didn't they used to have a football team?"
Turns out Arkansas apparently reinstated football this season, winning the SEC West and defeating my beloved Tennessee Vols along the way. So to Dan the Fan (rhyme intended that time), I apologize for my asinine remarks and look forward to hearing from you again in another 10 years.
I ran afoul of more controversy in April, when I joined the Harry
Potter debate ostensibly on anti-Harry crusader Laura Mallory's side. "Only when (Potter creator J.K.) Rowling
. . . and others of (her) ilk are finally banished from our schools," I wrote, "can we rest easy, secure in the knowledge that our children will never be exposed to the mystical, the magical, or the supernatural."
In my defense, I was attempting in this passage to employ "satire," a literary term for saying one thing while meaning exactly the opposite. I forgot that in Georgia, this is known simply as "campaigning."
Then in May, reminiscing about my son's Little League career, I wrote that "my fundamental worth as a father depends entirely upon whether or not my son gets a hit in any particular at-bat."
Looking back, that was a pretty silly thing to say. This holiday season I've been reminded of what's truly important, and that my worth as a parent depends not on something as meaningless as baseball but rather on the extravagance of the Christmas presents I'm able to afford.
Finally, in a November column comparing the Georgia-Georgia Tech rivalry to the one between Alabama and Auburn, I declared the latter superior because the teams are more "evenly matched" with "neither managing to achieve the upper hand for any significant period of time. . . . Other in-state rivalries," I said "like the Jackets and Bulldogs are often diluted by one team's dominance."
Shortly after I typed those words, Auburn beat Alabama for the fifth straight time, a level of dominance almost on a par with UGA's six-year ownership of Tech. Then again, the Alabama coach was fired afterward, so maybe they do care more about their rivalry over there.
Anyway, it feels good to air out past mistakes as I head into a new year, during which only one thing is certain - 12 months from now, I'll be writing another "stupid things I've said" column.
Lawrenceville resident Rob Jenkins is associate professor of English and director of the Writers Institute at Georgia Perimeter College. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.