I am having an identity crisis. Identity crises are much more serious than mid-life crises. For the latter, you can buy a toupee or a convertible or visit a tanning salon. If you have an identity crisis, you tend to talk to yourself and people assume you are nuts. I have learned to get around that by putting a walnut in my ear. That way I can fool passersby into thinking I am a hot-shot business mogul talking to my investment advisor on one of those new-fangled cell phones about buying North Dakota. I wish I could say that helps, but all the walnut seems to do is attract squirrels who want to chew on my ear.
I am sorry to whine like this but I have just received a snippy note from a reader who has a Ph.D. (She has a Ph.D. and reads my column? Go figure.) She says she is waiting for me to give President Barack Obama credit for his quick response to the flooding in the Atlanta suburbs because "I know you're not a fan of the President (to put it mildly)." Ouch!
She must assume that I am to the right of Glenn Beck or Glenn Miller, or whoever that guy is that talks so fast on television. I am loathe to argue with anyone who has more brainpower than I have socks, but I have not said anything negative about our president, as far as I can recall.
In fact, I have lauded him for keeping President Peanut out of our hair and out of North Korea. This means that we will probably have to endure more bad poetry and handmade doorknobs coming out of the Carter Center, but that beats getting blown to smithereens by a bunch of Third-World punks who aren't sure who is running our country.
Just as I had finished reeling from her blow to my delicate psyche, here comes an e-mail from a reader chastising me for continuing to pick on former President George W. Bush. The writer said he is getting tired of me doing that. Ouch again! When have I said ugly things about our former president?
OK, maybe I did suggest that he just might not go into the pantheon of our greatest presidents like Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln. But I do believe with all my heart that he will easily surpass the legacy of Millard Fillmore, whose greatest claim to fame is that he was thought to have installed the first bathtub in the White House. Alas, he didn't. That was a hoax, which means Millard Fillmore didn't accomplish much while president if he couldn't even get a bathtub installed. (I don't want to get too far off the subject, but California was admitted to the union while Fillmore was president. Given a choice, I would rather have had the bathtub.)
So, here is my dilemma: If I say that Barack Obama seems to think more taxes and bigger government will cure everything from global warming to carbuncles, and that he couldn't even do something simple like get the Olympic Games for Chicago even though he is the president of the United States and that Billy Payne got the Games for Atlanta and was just a real estate attorney, there are those among you who will accuse me of being a right-wing whacko and a secret agent for the Halliburton Company and Big Oil.
On the other hand, if I say that Laura Bush should have been president and George W. Bush the First Man and that Barbara Bush is smarter than her whole family put together, I am sure to get letters saying I love Nancy Pelosi and that I think Obama's health care reform is the best thing to happen to us since Ray Charles first sang "Georgia on my Mind."
I am so confused. I just don't know what to do. Until I can figure this mess out, I am going to continue to walk around with a walnut in my ear and act like I am buying North Dakota. At least the squirrels will love me.
E-mail columnist Dick Yarbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org.