I happen to be sitting down to write this particular column on 15 April.
Those of you who are not Wesley Snipes will recognize the significance of this date. While I sit here at my grandpa’s Underwood, smacking away at the keys, I’m periodically checking my e-mail on the Blackberry to see if my fiscally responsible and mathematically gifted wife has finished our taxes yet.
Actually, I’m using a desktop computer. I made up the part about the Underwood typewriter. Although I did have a grandpop, so in reality perhaps I simply misspoke rather than intentionally obfuscated. I kind of regret that I chose my words poorly… mind you, that’s not the same thing as saying I’m sorry.
I’m sorry I chose my words poorly, how’s that?
Screw it, compared to what some of those other columnists write, I’m definitely more in touch with the common people, the commoners.
Frankly, right there I should have said I have more in common with the public. Referring to the general public as "common people" wasn’t necessarily wrong, but it could have been said better.
What I mean is, all the little people out there in this great country of ours know that I’m one of them. We’ve got a great deal in common; however, in retrospect I probably shouldn’t have said "little people."
I do regret the previous three paragraphs, although you should know that I’m not apologizing. If I said I’m sorry, I’d simply be playing into the hands of the more experienced and jaded columnists who undoubtedly would turn my verbal fumbling into something more than it is.
Frankly, we’re focused on the wrong things here and I’d like to shift direction.
We’re supposed to be talking about tax time, but now I’ve had to waste almost a page explaining how I’ve been misinterpreted. Not to mention how sensitive everyone is becoming. Where’s the justice in that?
Look, the last thing I would do is demean the folks across America who perhaps don’t understand the world as well as I do. I happen to know that there are literally hundreds of average voters residing outside liberal, urban pockets of academic excellence who have a grasp of how the world works.
Admittedly, it was an odd choice of words just now to call the voters "average," but let’s not dwell on that. Honestly, is this any way to run a column? The devoted readers of the PWB grasp on to this weekly drivel not out of some sense of frustration with the way the world is treating them, but out of a sense of boredom and lack of anything better to read. And I respect that.
But they do expect actual insight, focused discussions and topics of significant import. I happen to know they get frustrated when the column rambles.
And yet, having exchanged correspondence with many of the readers, I know that only a small majority of them can be described as regularly frustrated. Some, a small percentage, could be termed "quirky" while the remainder fall somewhere between "delusional" and "crazed."
Hmm. That was unfortunate. I don’t know this for sure, not being a journalist by training, but I’m guessing that the way to increase your reading audience is to avoid any hint of condescension, pandering or referring to them as "crazed," "frustrated" or "delusional." Bit of a goof there. Mind you, can’t see myself apologizing for that… it’s not like I meant it.
It chaps my butt when people try to interpret what I mean by reading what I write or listening to what I say. If I write or say something, don’t you think the masses should have the decency to wait for me to interpret it for them? Looking back on that last sentence, you should know that I’m not saying the masses aren’t decent.
And by the term "masses," you need to realize I’m not dredging up any old socialist phrases or imagery. I was merely searching for a word to describe the collective notion of Americans as something other than individuals. Not that there’s anything wrong with individuals, individual thought or individualism.
Good God, this hole keeps getting deeper. The reference to God is interesting… not sure where that came from. Usually I try to avoid religious references, it’s too easy to shoot yourself in the foot when you drag God into the mix. Not literally, of course. That would imply that I’m a gun owner.
But that’s just my opinion. I’m jumping out of this conversation before I say anything else I’ll need to explain. My wife just called with the news that, not only do I not owe any more taxes, but we’ll be getting a small refund.
She wants to put it in the bank. Me, I’m spending my portion on a handgun and a new Bible. It’s what the common folk do to revitalize the economy.
Till next week, stay safe.
Mike Baker served for more than 15 years as a covert field operations officer for the Central Intelligence Agency, specializing in counterterrorism, counternarcotics and counterinsurgency operations around the globe. Since leaving government service, he has been a principal in building and running several companies in the private intelligence, security and risk management sector, including most recently Prescience LLC, a global intelligence and strategy firm. He appears frequently in the media as an expert on such issues. Baker is also a partner in Classified Trash, a film and television production company. Baker serves as a script consultant and technical adviser within the entertainment industry, lending his expertise to such programs as the BBC's popular spy series "Spooks" as well as major motion pictures. In addition, Baker is a writer for a BBC drama to begin production in July 2007.