Marolt: A couple of retractions before we talk about the weather
For a newspaper man, which someone once accused me of being, a retraction is like being pinned on the playground and made to say “uncle,” which is what I should have done to my accuser.
I feel most readers believe columnists rarely make mistakes. The readers couldn’t be wronger. We do make mistakes, however minor and infrequent. In this light I will use my allotted space in this edition of Cluster Phobic to retract a couple of errors I made in recent weeks.
First of all, there is the column about hunting. I take it back. Yes, all of it. People who like to hunt gave me a hard time about loving animals. People who don’t like hunting gave me a hard time about loving meat.
These comments were not enough for retracting the entire piece, though. It was actually the people who don’t like hunting but are OK with it because it is, apparently, a constitutional right, and the people who like to hunt, but who are against everyone else hunting because the forests are getting crowded with folks in Eddie Bauer extreme gear whose guides tote their overpriced yuppie rifles around in carbon fiber cases on the flanks of rented horses who are violating real hunters’ rights to privacy in the woods.
I can’t pinpoint the exact error(s) in that column but know they were there to render my excellent points so widely misconstrued. You know, a superfluous comma here and a misused semicolon there can turn any good point bad. I guess this might be the time to admit that I don’t really even know how to use a semicolon properly so maybe I should stop trying.
I also want to retract my column on elk and other semi-wild animals you can view on Owl Creek Road just about any old day of the year. This is a minor point, not because of the impact it had on many readers, but rather due to the impact it didn’t have on anyone. As one non-reader pointed out, my column occupies “the place the Sun don’t shine.”
What I failed to realize when I wrote that column is that there are only two types of people who stop on the sides of Owl Creek Road to stare at elk through binoculars at sunset. One type would like to pet them and the other would like to shoot them. And there they are, leaning shoulder to shoulder steadying their elbows on the top rail of the fence humming Kumbaya while focusing their lenses. It was basically the aforementioned hunting column that I retracted above, all over again.
It seems like there should be other types of people who stop on the side of the road to gawk at elk, but there aren’t. If you think of another that might do this, please let me know and I will retract this column, too.
I have a friend named Bill. When I confessed — OK, when he told me that it seemed like I’ve been writing a lot of crap lately — he said he thought my columns are better when he gives me the ideas to write about. He says this all the time, so it must be true. I asked him to give me some ideas to write about. He said there aren’t any.
I get that. It’s offseason. Nobody’s in the mood to think. The only thing of significance going on in Snowmass Village is Base Village. By the time you read this somebody may have filed a lawsuit or another letter to the editor about this, either of which ultimately will have the same effect, but there is nothing to worry about — Base Village is “going through the process.” It has been going through “the process” for our children’s entire life histories and nothing has happened, so I think it’s fair to say that the process is working. “None for all and all for none.” Where does the semicolon go in that expression?
So, here we are at a time of year when the papers are paper-thin. It’s an undeniable shame that I have to retract such large blocks of my own errors from such limited content. When you think of it like that, it makes you wonder if there is any point in making a retraction this time of year. OK then, I retract my retractions. This time of year it’s more productive to rake leaves than shake branches, anyway.
Roger Marolt thinks writing about the first snowfall is about like having Maroon Bells in the background of a family Christmas card. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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