Recognizing all of those who made 2018 a year to remember

Published 6:00 pm Thursday, December 20, 2018

Well, we can pretty much stick a fork in the Year of our Lord 2018. By the time you are through roasting chestnuts on an open fire or eating the last of the leftover turkey, 2019 will come knocking on the door.

This has been a very good year in one respect — I did not read my obituary, and I am guessing that you didn’t read yours, either.

I don’t do New Year’s resolutions. For one thing, that is about as original as a broom handle. Nobody means them. Nobody keeps them. It is a waste of paper. My editors don’t like me wasting paper. Editors can resolve to be very cranky about this kind of stuff no matter what the time of year.

Instead, it is my policy to give out year-end awards and to recognize those individuals and organizations who have made this column a thing of beauty and a joy forever. Bless their hearts.

Our first award is the Running and Gunning Award which goes to our Governor-elect Brian Kemp who won a very close race after running TV ads holding a shotgun and threatening a little dweeb proposing to date his daughter, which thrilled all the gun-toters, and must have dismayed his daughters. I just wish the little dweeb had told Kemp that he had a Magnum .357 pointed somewhere between daddy’s belt buckle and his knees, and one more threat and the dweeb would make him a soprano.

The Son of a Gun Award goes to all the gun-toters who are giddy thinking our new governor is going to make guns his top legislative priority. They are going to be surprised when they find out that public education and rural development are likely to be his top priorities — as they should be.

The winner of the Nod-Nod, Wink-Wink Award goes to outgoing Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who should have done just that instead of blabbing out loud to a former Republican gubernatorial rival, Clay Tippins (or at least to Tippins’ hidden cellphone) about backing an education bill he called bad “a thousand different ways,” so another candidate, former state Sen. Hunter Hill, wouldn’t get a few million dollars from Alice the Walmart Lady and her deep-pocketed, out-of-state special interest friends. (Turns out that Alice didn’t give the dough to either.)

The Howdy Doody Notable Quotable Award is presented to state Rep. Earl Ehrhart, R-Cobb. He is retiring after 30 years in the General Assembly. Mr. Ehrhart is to notable quotes what Michelangelo is to art. In fact, Earl Ehrhart’s quotes are a work of art. He once referred to Casey Cagle as “Eddie Haskell,” the smarmy character on “Leave it to Beaver” which stunned the two dozen people who still remembered that show. A group of neighborhood activists earned his wrath and the epithet, “Gladys Kravitz,” which stunned the other two dozen people who remembered that obscure character on “Bewitched.” To opponents who objected to his efforts to shield private contractors and subcontractors doing government business from Georgia’s Sunshine laws, he said, “I think they need to readjust their tinfoil hat.” I couldn’t find two dozen people anywhere who understood that. He will be missed.

The Golden Half Award is presented to the scholar-athletes at my beloved alma mater, the University of Georgia. In both last year’s national championship and this year’s SEC championship, they decisively thrashed the scholar-athletes from the University of Alabama for one half. Alas, a close reading of the rules of football indicates the game requires two halves and, on occasion, an overtime. Bummer.

The Tell-It-Like-It-Is Award is the most distinguished of them all. It is presented to a reader who in 25 words or less can best describe the positive impact my weekly efforts have in making this a better world for all people. This year was a tie. A reader on the Georgia coast observed, “Just because you can write that column doesn’t mean you should,” and a devoted fan in north Georgia described me as “a jerk, knee jerk, snail poop, bucket head.” I apologize if I get emotional, but I love this job.

So, one year down and another one about to begin. As in past years, I promise that if you will keep reading, I’ll keep writing (Oops! Was that a New Year’s resolution?) — assuming this meets with the editor’s approval. After all, you and I are a team.

Most of all, I wish you peace and happiness in the coming year, and may neither of us read our obituary.