Slowly, Surely, Steve Blow and I Are Becoming the Same Person

All right, please allow me to take care of some inside business here and use this space to respond to all of you who were kind enough yesterday to inquire whether I am turning into Steve Blow or Steve Blow is turning into me. Yes. It's a natural part of the aging process.

Dallas Morning News columnist Steve Blow and I have been at loggerheads over the years on many issues, but that was the distant past. Now as we age gracefully together, it is only natural that we should gradually come to resemble each other more and more. The day will come when the children will have a tough time telling Gramps from Granny, which, after all, is the thing that makes our grandparents so scary.

At the beginning of this week I wrote a column here making fun of a trio of community leaders selected by the mayor to be his special advisors on important school issues. I called them "wrinkledy guys" because they are old. I was using a folksy neologism which was a deliberate misspelling of the word, wrinkled.

Yesterday Blow had a column in the paper making exactly the same point, but he called the trio a "geriatric Mod Squad," which several of my callers said was the same thing but funnier than what I said. I would point out that, funny or not, "Mod Squad" is a cultural reference from 1960s television. But it was funny, and at least it was not a folksy neologism. And here is where Gramps and Granny's hair-dos begin to become more twin-like.

I never used to use folksy neologisms. Ever. The very first folksy neologism I ever used showed up in a column a couple months ago, and my editor, Patrick Williams, flagged it immediately. He even emailed me and warned me I was "turning into Steve Blow." And of course I thought, "How ridiculous. Me. Turning into Steve Blow. What are the chances?"

Everyone who knows Blow says he's a nice guy. No one ever says that about me. I have asked. They say, "You are a guy."

See also: Too Many Wrinkled Guys in Mayor's School Takeover Campaign

The use of folksy neologisms is a nice-guy thing to do. It means you want to be friendly and unprepossessing. That's why, instead of neologisms, I like to use terms like "shit" and "asshole." I don't want to be friendly, and I do want to be prepossessing. It's just more me. Or it was. Now I don't know.

You might wonder why two old guys like me and Steve Blow would agree on something like making fun of old guys. Gosh-a-rooti, I just don't know. That's scary, too. Maybe it's a low-hanging fruit syndrome, like those are the only guys left we don't have to worry about whipping our buttooskis.

Of course, the process cannot become complete until Blow starts using shit and asshole in his columns in the Morning News. I know that's hard to imagine given the culture of the place, but you never know. We could wake up tomorrow and find they've sold the joint to Jesse Ventura. Who knows what that might unleash?

I think we probably make too much of our differences anyway. There is probably a point when the grandkids look up and say to themselves, "I really can't tell if that's Gramps or Grandma, but who gives a shit? I just want the old asshole to reach into his/her purse/wallet and give me a wad of the old moolah-doolah."

It's weird, I will grant you, me and Blow agreeing on a thing. Who knows what's really going on? The time may come when you will have to ask yourself, "Is it Jim, or is it Steve? Only their hairdresser knows for sure." That's also a 1960s cultural reference, by the way.

Anyway, thanks for getting in touch, be sure to write again soon, bye for now, and don't let the door hit you in your big bushy tooshy.

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Jim Schutze has been the city columnist for the Dallas Observer since 1998. He has been a recipient of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies’ national award for best commentary and Lincoln University’s national Unity Award for writing on civil rights and racial issues. In 2011 he was admitted to the Texas Institute of Letters.
Contact: Jim Schutze