I’ve learned a few things since this column’s inception. The first is that flaunting my credentials as a Patch columnist will not score me a lap dance at PoleKatz. The second is you simply never know what stories will resonate with your readers and which will become the proverbial tree that fell in the woods. I’ve had my fair share of both.
Occasionally, however, something I’ve written touches someone deep inside (between the pancreas and small intestine), and they feel compelled to drop me a line and try to put into verse the fathomless depths of their feelings. It’s a beautiful thing.
While I encourage any and all feedback to my columns, I find it curious that some people won’t share their thoughts in the "comments" section on the Patch site itself, but rather feel more comfortable reaching out to me directly. Curiouser still is when those same people go through the trouble of sending me an email but still choose anonymity. I can understand why you might not want to sign your name publicly, but if reaching out to me privately then why the puppet pseudonym?
Regardless, here’s a tip: When you sign off on your rant as "Captain Midnight" but your email address shows as "john.smith@___.com," it doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes leading a team from CSI Chicago to figure out what your real name is. Just saying.
In honor of my second anniversary as an intrepid Patch correspondent, I thought I would share with you some of the heartfelt and touching messages I’ve received from my faithful community of readers. Let the sincerity wash over and cleanse your soul as it has mine. Don’t worry, Captain, I’ve used initials to protect the identity of people and puppets alike.
“Tony, as a prolific author, you must be very particular about your command of the language. I’ll let you pick out what may be wrong with this phrase I clipped from the biography section that accompanies your column: 'I have to children, Eva and Anthony, who are they’re parent’s greatest joy…' (JM, regarding my profile)
Good catch, JM. I got a C- in Sister Venstra's spelling class in grade school, and it shows. I promise you that my new editor will not allow me to spell cat with a "K."
“Two Toots burgers suck and so do you as a writing.” (JK, regarding my proclamation that 2 Toots had the best burger in DG).
I think vacuum cleaners really suck, JK, but seldom burgers. But that’s just me.
“I have to honestly tell you that my disgust for the politics in this town is very high. Yours should be too. Maybe you haven’t experienced it yet. Maybe you have to truly experience it, first hand, in order to get mad and want to fight it. Maybe, you don’t really care because this is the way things have been for so long. I won’t even try and figure you out.” (CM, regarding local politics).
If you manage to figure me out, please tell my wife. She’s been trying unsuccessfully for years.
“Hey Tony, your columns are the best reading on Patch. I’ve been unemployed for over a year and I’ve been raising my 3-year-old twins. Sometimes I want to rip my effin’ hair out being with them 10 hours a day, but your ‘Dad’ column literally gave me a boost of energy, and I’ve felt differently since then.” (DN, regarding ‘Dad’ being the best job a guy could have).
Thanks, DN! Being Dad is the only job that matters. Fifty years from now no one will care what I did for a living, but if one of my kids climbs the bell tower with a rifle they’ll wonder why I was such a horrible parent.
“How about you worry about what really matters in the village? A simple 'Downers Grove City Limits' sign would suffice. People don't really give a s—. If you want to get on a soap box...get on one that matters...like improving our street conditions. That is what people pay attention to.” (LG, regarding our crappy welcome signage).
Whoa there, LG. Why so hostile? Have you considered decaf? How about you kiss my big, fat butt and don't tell me what to care about? How about that?
“Loved your article today! It made me laugh. I agree with you, and count me in for a couple bucks. (MW, regarding funding new welcome signage).
Thanks! Say, do you live near LG? Maybe you could talk to him. I don’t think he’s convinced as we that DG welcome signage sucks. Bring him some Sanka.
Tony, great article! We would welcome your involvement in next year's event. Most of us just do it for the chicks. PD has the hottest moms! I always win that argument with my Hillcrest, south sider sister. You sparked some immediate responses and I would like to include you in the email thread if you would pass on you email address.” (PC, regarding the Battle of the Pierce Downer Parent Bands).
You’re right on, PC! I think DG moms should consider putting together a calendar for charity. I’ll volunteer to shoot the pictures..
“Why is it that The Village couldn't turn a profit from Heritage Fest, but the Rotary can? How much does the Rotary make? I know during that weekend I typically spend $150+ on rides, games, food, beer. I would like to see the books opened up.” (MB, regarding the former Heritage Fest).
Simple. The Rotary charged an upcharge of 600 percent for any food item that came on a stick. It’s an example of forward thinking and creative economics our village is currently lacking. Are you listening, Mayor Tully?
“If it weren't for the grace of God, you may have gone down a path of drunkennesss, addiction and become homeless yourself. Void of his power and love, you will wander eternity down dark paths in hell.” (JS, regarding ???).
“We agree on the homeless issue. I feel that if the police just enforced the drinking/loitering/park closing laws, we wouldn't have an issue. Make them as unwelcome as possible.” (PL, regarding the ongoing issue of "creepers" drinking in the parks).
It’s an issue I plan to visit soon, PL. For the record, I am not "against" homelessness. Homelessness is a cruel and unintended circumstance caused by a wide range of factors. However, bad behavior in parks (or train station platforms, or convenience stores) should no longer be tolerated. This community has enabled by looking the other way for too long.
"Now maybe we should turn Odgen Avenue over to Westmont or Clarendon Hills, clearly DG is incapable of developing this stretch in any kind of meaningful, coordinated manner." (DG, regarding eliminating stand-alone massage parlors).
Now that King’s Health has closed down, anything is possible. Then again, I pulled a muscle playing volleyball around 11 p.m. last Tuesday night and had no where to turn for a deep massage.
“Did you know that women like beer, and that maybe I just might take the leftover food home to the husband?” (MH, regarding "Beer Geek Tuesdays" at Lemon Tree).
I assumed all women like cold, pink wine and accepting a subservient role in their marriages. Was I wrong?
“Great article. But, not all car guys are guys. Guess I'll have to come to Downers next year.” (BL, regarding the Friday Night Car Show)
I looked for you all summer, BL! Daisy Dukes, fuschia halter top, 6-inch heels and a tattoo of Merle Haggard on your shoulder, right? How could I have missed you? Send me your email address again!
“Tony, It was a pleasure meeting you and your wife last night. Welcome to the Downers Grove Moose. Let me know if I can help in any way in the future.” (Mike Pelling, regarding Moose Love).
I included the full name on this post because I wanted everyone to see first-hand the integrity and community spirit that is alive and well in the DG Moose community. A special thanks to the dozens of great people who offered to sponsor me (including Kurt Wehrmeister, Director/Communications & Public Affairs, Moose International) and welcomed me into the fold. Looking forward to Sunday afternoon football and taste testing as much chili as I can!
If you want to drop me a line, ask me out (sorry, married), share a story idea or blackmail me with compromising photos you obtained from an old girlfriend, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.