You could have it all, My empire of dirt. I will let you down, I will make you hurt.
— Johnny Cash/Nine Inch Nails
Oh, my, the cat’s out of the bag.
I’ve been outed, and I don’t quite know yet what I will do about it. Just when you think you’ve got people hoodwinked ...
A few squawks and comments sent to this newspaper recently have revealed my deepest, darkest secret: I live in Lee County. According to the super sleuths who uncovered this earth-shattering bit of news, I am now a hypocrite because I often write about things that happen in Albany and Dougherty County.
I don’t want to fault anyone’s logic, but I’m having a little trouble making the connection here. Because I moved a few miles across the Dougherty County line, I’m no longer qualified to write about the city I work in, shop in, spend most of my time in? The city where two of my children were born?
I guess, based on that bit of reasoning, any reporter who writes about something going on outside the city where he or she resides, any local TV talking head who mentions a sporting event in Atlanta or a government decision made in D.C., or any blogger who discusses goings-on outside his immediate jurisdiction is being hypocritical.
Since the person(s) who made the startling discovery of my county of residence seem to think it’s a big deal, let me let you in on a few more secrets that will no doubt be equally as shocking:
— I drive a gray car!
— I am a proud graduate of Albany State University, and yet I’ve still written articles about Darton College! I’ve tried to keep this info from the bosses here, but now that my secret’s out, I’m sure The Herald will eliminate all those Darton stories from its files.
— I have made it known on a number of occasions that I’m not exactly a huge pet lover, but we have two dogs, two cats and a horse on our land — in Lee County! — and I not only tolerate them, I sometimes help feed them!
— I check out books frequently at the downtown Albany Central Library branch and have maintained family memberships at Chehaw Park and the Flint RiverQuarium even after moving across the county line and have yet to pay any out-of-county fees!
What you don’t know, super sleuth(s), is that my family’s move to Lee County — while not really a secret, still our business — was a necessity, one of those things you do when you can’t work because you’ve had cancer surgery and your wife can’t work because she’s taking care of you.
And what you — and everyone but a very select handful of people — also don’t know is that that cancer thing included a death’s-door experience that, but for God’s, my wife’s and a team of doctors and nurses at Phoebe’s intervention would have rendered me — in the words of my buddy Levine — toes-up while I still lived on Sixth Avenue in downtown Albany.
So, you see, I don’t particularly give a rat’s ass what anyone thinks about where I live, how I express my opinions, how I wear my hair or where I eat lunch every day. I’m just overwhelmingly happy to be here, happy to see my children growing up, happy to try — and fail — at adequately thanking my wife for sacrificing to keep me alive, happy to be coming every day to a job that I love.
I listened to Johnny Cash’s “American IV: The Man Comes Around” album over the weekend — the one he made just before he died in 2003 — and while I was moved by the anguish in his still-powerful singing voice, it made me realize how precious and short the time we have here is. And I think rather than worry about what someone else thinks of me or what I do or even where I live, I’m just going to get up every morning and thank God for another day, and then I’m going to live it.
You, on the other hand, are free to do what pleases you.
Email Metro Editor Carlton Fletcher at email@example.com.