To each his own.
It takes all kinds to make a world.
There’s no accounting for taste.
These are all familiar old sayings born of the inescapable fact that there are billions of people on Earth with billions of different styles. No two have the same desires, likes, dislikes or opinions, and each has his or her unique point of view.
Those differences often result in people having completely opposing reactions the very same thing. While something might have an extremely positive effect on one person, it might negatively affect the next.
Like a food item, car model, shoe brand or movie.
Or a newspaper column.
I was recently talking with a friend about that subject, and how wildly varying peoples’ viewpoints of the same entry in this series can be. Being a writer by trade for many years, I have had the opportunity to see those differing viewpoints in action in a big way.
It’s not at all unusual for people tell me everything from they “really connect” to my ramblings to they “have no idea” what it’s all about. I’ve been told there’s an old-timer or two who look forward to reading my stuff each week, but I’m also aware that some folks think what I do is little more than a waste of good newspaper space.
It’s amazing, really; it’s sometimes as people have digested something entirely different even though the words they’ve read were the same.
Not long ago, I received two almost polar-opposite sets of feedback about the same specific piece, one person sharing criticism about how it was way off base and the other gushing about how it made their day. My unique viewpoint leads me to believe that both people were right. The piece just didn’t make much sense to the one person, while it tickled the other’s funny bone and pressed their sense of humor button.
That reminds me of something that happened about 18 years ago after an emu got loose in downtown Cleveland, Ga., and evaded capture for most of a day. After I heard about how potential captors did as much running away from the big bird as they did chasing it, I wrote a piece about how Cleveland could become the new Pamplona, that town in Spain that annually stages the “running of the bulls.”
I clearly remember having a well-known community member tell me they “didn’t get it” and thought it was weird. But I also have a certificate from the Georgia Press Association that indicates the “Running of the Emus” piece earned an award in the “Best Humorous Column” category that year. Depending on who you talk to (the community member or the GPA judge), that column was either really strange or worthy of an award.
I’m glad it’s that way.
Lord help me the day I start pleasing everyone, and I guess it’ll be time to consider a new employment field if and when there’s nobody liking what I do.
Maybe it’s good that in a given week the subject of my column could be anything. If nothing else, that means the source of material should never run dry.
But then again, for everyone out there who likes the ever-changing, fluid and pattern-free nature of this series, there’s someone else who wishes it would have more structure and actually offer something tangible. For every reader who might enjoy it, there’s probably another who wishes it would go away.
Anyway, I have over the years been called – among other things – a “fake” and a “disgrace,” as well as a “blessing” and an “asset.” And I know that in each case, the person was right – from their own unique point of view.
So, in all sincerity and taking to heart the varying viewpoints that exist among readers, I submit to you with regard to every column I have written or might write in the future: I apologize and you’re welcome.
There, that should cover everyone.