By hip, food, dog, offending readers, one year at a time

December 26, 2005|By KEVIN COWHERD

As has become tradition in this space - OK, we've only done it twice, but let's not get picky - it's time to look back over this year's columns and see who we offended, in the hope of making things right.

Topping the list of the hugely aggrieved in 2005: hip-replacement patients.

After a column about my own hip-replacement surgery, which contained the startling revelation that it's not a piece of cake and you don't feel great for a few days, a handful of readers who'd had the operation accused me of being "too negative."

People who really need this surgery will be discouraged by your column, they wrote.

After much consideration, I've decided they're right. It's always better to keep people in the dark about surgical after-effects, isn't it?

So the next time someone has a hip replacement and mentions the nausea, fever and sleep difficulties he or she is experiencing, I'll say: Gee, I never had any of that. I hope you're not dying or something.

Yep, I don't know what I was thinking when I wrote that original column. Maybe the anesthesia was still fogging my brain.

A column about Wegmans, the chic new supermarket that opened in Hunt Valley to much fanfare - people camped out all night to be the first in the door, like they were giving away a chateau in France - also ticked off a few readers.

I visited Wegmans and thought it was all a bit much: the NATO-airbase size of the place, the sushi bar and patisserie, the 400 varieties of cheese, the 60 different kinds of onions, etc.

Well, the Wegmans disciples came out of the woodwork.

If you don't like the place, they wrote, don't shop there. But this is the best thing to ever hit northern Baltimore County, and if you can't see that, you're just a dumb hick.

Well, I almost choked on the piece of straw I was chewing after reading that.

Then I sat in my double-wide trailer and thought: maybe they have a point.

So, OK, Wegmans disciples, you win. The place is great. In fact, I'm going up there today to do my grocery shopping. Of course, it might take a while, since I have to wade through so many choices just to find what I want.

But I figure by tomorrow I should be pushing my cart past the seafood section and the 700 types of salmon.

And by Wednesday, God willing, we'll be nearing the 55-acre vegetable section and headed toward the vast Land of Condiments that I've heard so much about.

Another group we managed to offend in 2005 were the dog fanatics, who got all worked up about a column on my dog's grooming habits.

I wrote that the dog is so pampered he gets his hair cut in a nice air-conditioned van that pulls right into our driveway.

Not only that, but the groomer actually knocks on our door and carries the stupid dog out to the van. Then when the grooming is done, the groomer carries the dog back to the house.

The dog doesn't even have to walk!

Well, the dog nuts didn't go for that one.

Sounds as though you're mean and nasty and don't love your dog, one wrote.

You ungrateful wretch, your dog gives you his unconditional love 24 hours a day, another wrote. So quit whining. Pampering him is the least you can do.

Anyway, after much soul-searching, I've decided that the dog nuts are right.

In fact, for all you dog nuts who think I don't do enough for my dog, how does this sound?

How about I send you his grooming bill every month? Maybe the veterinary bills, too.

You love dogs so much, it wouldn't be right to deny you the pleasure of caring for this dog, too.

The Star Wars kooks also were quick to express their displeasure over a column that coincided with the opening of Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith.

After noting that these titles keep getting longer - this one topped out at a whopping 11 syllables - I implored famed director George Lucas to keep his word and make this the last Star Wars movie ever.

I guess I was a little cranky that day. Because I also ripped all these crazy Star Wars fans who stage mock light-saber battles and dress up in Imperial Stormtrooper costumes and spout all manner of dense trivia about every Star Wars movie ever made to anyone who will listen.

It's just a movie! is what I said.

But to the Star Wars kooks, this was like ripping their religion.

I heard from a bunch of them, and the gist of their e-mails was this: What we're doing is fun, and it's not hurting anyone. So why don't you go hold your breath until your head explodes and leave us alone?

Fine. You win, Star Wars kooks. I'm tired of beating my head against the wall over this.

If you want to dress up like Chewbacca and turn your home into an Obi-Wan Kenobi shrine and go to every Star Wars convention in every drafty Days Inn for the next 10 years, that's your business.

I won't knock it ever again.

And, as I do with all the aggrieved mentioned here, I hope we can still be friends.

kevin.cowherd@baltsun.com

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