Help me choose, will you?
I have two possible column topics for today, and I am not sure which one to write about.
One topic I have under consideration was prompted by a recent front page headline in this newspaper. Perhaps you remember it: “Fitchville Campground Now Catering to Gay Men.”
My other possible column choice has to do with some fan letters I have written.
Which one sounds more interesting to you?
That’s what I thought you’d say, but first let me tell you about the fan letters.
As far as I know, I have only ever written fan letters to three individuals.
I sent one to Craig Wilson, one to Andrew Tobias and one to a professor at the college I attended.
Craig Wilson is a columnist for USA Today. He is so clever and has such insight into everyday things, he makes me — as a smalltime newspaper columnist myself — absolutely green with envy. So one day I sent him an e-mail and told him what a good job he does. Much to my delight, he responded. We have subsequently corresponded a couple more times talking shop, as they say, and exchanging column ideas.
Andrew Tobias wrote a book called “The Only Investment Guide You Will Ever Need.” Sounds boring, I know, but Andrew Tobias has the gift for making it completely not boring. In fact, I even remember laughing several times as I read it. Best of all, I have been applying the principles advocated in that book for more than 30 years, and I am certain it has made me more financially comfortable. When I discovered that Mr. Tobias has a Web site and e-mail address, I sent him a message telling him how I admired his gift for writing and thanking him for all his prudent financial advice. Like Craig Wilson, Andrew Tobias responded to my e-mail and has subsequently published on his Web site a couple of things I submitted to him.
And that professor at the college I attended and to whom I sent a fan letter was not one of my professors. No, I wrote him the fan letter in response to the remarkable work he has done with my nephew and his classmates. Six weeks into his freshman year, my nephew related the incredible things that had been accomplished with the assistance, encouragement and discipline of this individual. In the words of my nephew: “He is a great man!” I know that countless others feel the same way. So I wrote this professor a letter of gratitude and indicating the respect I feel for the things he is accomplishing with the young men and women in his charge. Like all great teachers, he responded with humility and self-effacement, giving all the credit to the hard-working young people in his classes.
Here’s the amazing and absolutely coincidental part about these three men.
All of them are gay.
Or maybe it is not so amazing and coincidental. After all, we are now learning that the percentage of homosexual men and women in our population is much greater than we had ever thought or been willing to admit.
I now have several friends who are gay or who have gay children. They’re everywhere.
And some of the most creative and talented people in every culture are part of the gay community.
So I guess I should not be surprised that the three times I chose to write and tell people how great I thought they were, they turned out to have a different sexual orientation than I.
That’s why I am not going down the parody-the-Fitchville-campground route in this column.
I apparently have very high regard for some of the people who would be eligible to camp there.
Making bad jokes and reinforcing ridiculous stereotypes is a sure way to never get any fan mail myself.
Thanks for helping me make what I am sure is the correct choice of topics this week.