I’d like to acknowledge


By Neil Offen

Without the help of all those working behind the scenes and several who worked in front of the scenes and those brave few who dared to work on the slippery sides of the scenes, this column would not have been possible. Of course, then again, it might have been better.

First of all, I’d like to acknowledge my wife, Carol, who insisted I acknowledge her first. She also convinced me to call this column “I’d like to acknowledge” rather than the more listless Chapter 11, since that might make readers think I was declaring bankruptcy. She also helped me compile all these acknowledgments, using her unsurpassed threatening skills, and made sure her name would come first even if I did it alphabetically.

I’d also like here to thank my children, Paul and Nora, for continuing to be my children even after all these years and rarely reminding me of that time in the Denver airport when I lost my mind during that five-hour delay and told the ticket agent I would never ever again mention the Denver airport in any of my acknowledgments.

Thanks, too, to the ticket agent, without whom this anger likely would have gone away years ago but instead has stayed boiling within me to help fuel my vicious but rivetingly amusing attacks on airports.

To my editors, what can I say but thanks for editing out that extra unnecessary unnecessary word (and ridding the column of all those unnecessary parentheses) and of course for all that emotional support as I wrestled with the dilemma of the Oxford comma. (Incidentally, comma wrestling is one of the most highly recommended exercises by the AARP. You can track it on your Fitbit, but check with your provider first.)

I’d also like to thank my butcher, Cliff, for his hamburger patties and his steadfast commitment to the 80-20 fat ratio. And I can’t forget the work of my plumber, Hal, who was able to plumb the depths of my comic despair over growing older while never forgetting that the kitchen trash masher still wasn’t working.

I would not have gotten to this point without my faithful translators, the ones in Germany and France, Estonia and Kazakhstan, Malta and Jersey City. They have been able to evocatively convey the essence of this column, the distillation of the poetry, even if they didn’t fully understand several of the words I was using, many of the obscure 1960s cultural references, and believed this column needed more umlauts.

I also owe a great debt to those who have come before me: Dickens, Proust, Turgenev, and the other kids in my multicultural preschool class at Miss Peacock’s, who helped me line up in size places.

I am greatly appreciative of the efforts of all my friends who have read different parts of this column and who all agreed emphatically that I should become a butcher.

And, of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Miss Bave, my first-grade teacher, who taught me absolutely everything I know about macro-economic theory.

Finally, my greatest thanks of all go to my imaginary dog Pamplemousse, for chewing up the first version of these acknowledgments.

Carrboro resident Neil Offen has been a humor columnist for four decades and in two countries. He is the author of the forthcoming book, “Building a Better Boomer.” His column appears twice monthly in The Local Reporter.

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