Dallas Morning News Metro columnist Steve Blow talked bad about me in the paper Sunday, so now, I guess, the laws of newspaper combat dictate that I must talk bad about Blow. I shall.
But first, I remember this scene from way back in my newspaper childhood. Back in the late 1970s, I hung out in a really miserable dive of a newspaper bar called the Headliner across the street from the old Dallas Times Herald. The Headliner catered to two kinds of people. Newspaper people. And derelicts. The owner told me the derelicts weren't the problem.
One night two reporters got into a typical reporter brawl with each other. It was brutal. Insults were hurled, threats were made. Their pals were holding them back with pinkie fingers crooked in their starched shirt collars. They went after each other that way forever -- seemed like it lasted half an hour. When they had threatened the daylights out of each other and were both exhausted and insulted to the bone, they stumbled back to their separate tables, neither one with even a hair out of place.
A philosopher at my table, whispering eerily over the open neck of a beer bottle as if playing the flute, said, "You know, that's the nice thing about newspaper guys. They may go after each other hammer and tong like that, but you always know nobody's gonna get hurt."
I think Mr. Blow and I can uphold the tradition.
In his column yesterday, Blow called me "the brooding Eeyore of Dallas journalism." Eeyore, a character in A. A. Milne's classic children's book Winnie the Pooh, is a gloomy donkey, always looking for the worst to come.
That meant I had to come up with an animal character I could assign to Blow as his cartoon avatar. And, when it came right down to it, I had to admit Eeyore wasn't bad. I am sort of gloomy, and I have the ears. That's really really irritating, you know, when a guy names you after a cartoon character and it sort of sticks.
But that means no-holds-barred. I'd advise you to grab your little alligator purse and jump under a table, because I'm mad!
I thought and thought. I went back through all the cartoon characters I could think of, even from adult cartoons. I really worked at this. And I have one.
Now first I want you to give this a moment. Don't go with your first impression, which will be to think it's a cheap shot and unimaginative. This is real. It's deep. This is way in there. But you have to think about it.
He's Goofy. Steve Blow is the Goofy of Dallas journalism.
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Wait. Think about it. He's tall. Goofy is tall. He's thin. Goofy is thin. He has a long face like Goofy. Like Goofy, he's kinda nice but maybe not the sharpest knife in the drawer -- loyal but never quite up to speed with his buddy, Mick. There's also a certain dental similarity.
But ... and this is it, this is the nut, this is what makes it ... the big thing about Steve Blow that makes him the Goofy of Dallas journalism? Whenever he speaks, every three sentences he says, "Hyuk hyuk."
Now, you tell me. He's Goofy! Right?
All right, Steve and I shall now repair to our separate tables with our hair unmussed and our shirts still neatly pressed. But ... WATCH OUT! We could explode again at any moment. We can't be responsible. We're animals.