C'mon, Rush, laugh, it was just a joke

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Dear Rush Limbaugh,

I am writing to thank you for denouncing me on your radio show the other week. I normally do not listen to you because -- well, I hate to boast -- I have a life.

As it happened, I was also on vacation when my name came up, and I wasn't listening to anything much except nature -- the swell of the sea and the foaming of the beer bottles.

But my son, Jim, alerted me. Not that he listens to you, either, which is a relief considering how much we spent on his college education, but some of his other friends were not so respectful of their parents' sacrifice and were tuned in for your mind-numbing bloviations. They sent him messages of the "Yo, dude, Rush is dissing your Dad" variety.

Rush -- may I call you Rush? I know it is short for Bullrush, but that seems so formal -- it is a rare event that a man is a hero to his son and, indeed, all his family and friends.

My brother-in-law Nat, himself possessed of many right-wing views, said it best: "Reg, you may be a liberal dunce, but to be criticized by a national media moron is a great honor."

Similarly, at work, everyone is very jealous. Day in and day out, my columnist colleagues toil away throwing verbal cats among the political pigeons without any thanks or recognition.

So I am very flattered to have been singled out in this way. You weren't to know this, Rush, but the wonder is you found me. I am not in the first rank of columnists at the paper, just appearing once a week. I don't have my picture in the paper because I am considered too ugly for radio, let alone the newspaper (although that didn't seem to hold you back, I notice).

So I am just so delighted to be singled out for abuse as if I were important, but at the same time I am sad that you took offense at my most recent column about Supreme Court nominee Judge John Roberts being too nice.

In the old days, when we didn't have a one-party state, it was OK to disagree with the administration and a person could even joke about it, but I realize I am hopelessly nostalgic and have given offense.

Rush, it kills me to think of your delicate little nose curling up with displeasure and your chins all a quiver due to my insensitivity. I just hope that you handle your pain in a constructive manner.

It was wrong of me to write that folks like you "have raised snarling to a high art and seem to take pride in resembling the nether quarters of horses."

Not only do I apologize to the horses, but also I recognize that snarling was the wrong word to use. No wonder you objected to that. You are one of those jolly character assassins. On reflection, I realize I should have used the word sneering instead of snarling.

While I am in a contrite mood, I hesitate to point out something else to you that readers in Pittsburgh know but others in more benighted locales sometimes do not. What I write is often -- gasp! -- not meant to be taken literally.

Now, it is true that many a true word is spoken in jest and it is also true, as I suggested in that infamous column, that I think the undoubtedly nice Judge Roberts may not seem so nice once he is elevated to the top court and starts delivering his opinions.

But I wasn't actually faulting Judge Roberts for being too nice, because that suggestion would have been imbecilic. I know that you think liberals are imbeciles, so I suppose you were a victim of your own stereotypes.

Rush, that suggestion is what people with a sense of humor sometimes call "tongue in cheek." Perhaps you have forgotten how it feels to put your tongue in your cheek because in the past all those pills of yours wouldn't allow it to fit. Yes, I do understand. But remember, matey: Leg pulling -- it isn't just for chiropractors anymore.

There's one other thing: In your non-snarling diatribe, you referred to "all the hateful, spiteful, childish rhetoric coming out of members of your party ..." I suppose you mean the Democrats, but I've always been registered as a Republican.

When I first registered to vote upon becoming a new citizen, my wife -- from a long line of Republicans -- threatened to withdraw all marital benefits if I registered as an Independent, which I had wanted to do. Well, I like a hot dinner as much as the next husband, so I have been a registered Republican ever since.

But, of course, unlike you, Rush, I don't think all virtue resides in one party and I vote for the best man or woman, regardless of party -- a bizarre concept, I know.

So what have we learned here, folks? That certain right-wingers, including a partisan cheerleader on the radio, wouldn't know a joke if it were delivered by a platoon of clowns parachuting into their yard. Ah, but what do I care? My son thinks I'm swell.


Reg Henry can be reached at rhenry@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1668.


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