Thursday, April 20, 2017

2017 Reading Quest 15

BookIf I Ever Get Back to Georgia, I'm Gonna Nail My Feet to the Ground.
Author: Lewis Grizzard

Info:  Copyright 1990: New York: Villard Books

Rating (on a scale of 1-4 stars):  ✮✭✭ 

Where Acquired:  Library check out.

What it's about:   Grizzard recounts his newspaper career.  His initial love for newspapers as a child led to a long career of editing, sports writing, and eventually being a world famous newspaper columnist.

Favorite Quotes: 

"I'm always amazed at how angry readers get at columnists.  If Carl Rowan or William Safire or Richard Reeves writes an opinion, that's his prerogative.  I might say to myself, 'Carl Rowan must have drunk some bad buttermilk when he wrote this.' or ' What on earth was William Safire trying to say?'  But I don't ever get mad at them and call down to the paper and threaten to cancel my subscription.  Disagreeing  with a columnist is a lot of fun.  A good columnist will stir debate and reaction."

"The story went that once he [Bill Monday] was going to do the Harvard-Yale game back in the 30's on nationwide radio.  The night before the game, he was having dinner with Harvard officials.  At one point Monday, a Georgia alumnus and son of the south, was asked 'Mr. Monday, who will you be pulling for tomorrow, Yale or fair Harvard?'  Monday thought for a moment, then replied, "Neither one.  You're both a bunch of damn Yankees and I wish there was a way you both could lose.'"

"Can my husband [Norm Van Broklin, then recently fired coach of the Atlanta Falcons] be happy on the farm?" Mrs. Van Brocklin asked back, "Let me put it this way; pecan trees don't drop touchdown passes."

What I liked:

Reading this account is partially a trip through my childhood.  Grizzard, an avid baseball fan, lived during the Braves' move from Milwaukee to Atlanta.  During the height of his sports writing/editing career, he saw Hank Aaron break Babe Ruth's homerun record while enduring the plethora of horrid Braves seasons.  My dad and I watched the Braves lose week after week from the late 70's through the early 90's.  It's a shame he passed away the year before the Braves actually won the World Series. 

Like Grizzard, I used to love newspapers.  I'm not so fond of them now and I'm not sure Lewis Grizzard would be very fond of them either.  I'm also a big fan of typewriters; Grizzard never used a computer.  Bless his heart.

What I didn’t like: 
  • The profanity.  Usually Grizzard writes in what I call "drunk uncle cussing," which, in the grand scheme of things, isn't so bad.  However, he admits to using more intense profanity in this work because his mother wasn't alive to read it.  He should have stuck with the drunk uncle cussing.
  • His time at the Chicago Sun Times really angered me.   Though not politically correct to say so, Grizzard was right.  Read it; you'll see what I mean.
Takeaway: I laughed and cried my way through Grizzard's tale.  The laughing was for obvious reasons.  The crying?  Well, that takes a little bit of explanation.  See, my Bachelor's degree is in Mass Communication.  Upon my 1995 graduation, I had dreams of writing for a living.  Here I am 22 years post graduation and I'm a chunky monkey working at a fitness facility and writing a mediocre blog read by an average of 36 people (thanks for reading, by the way).  Grizzard's story reminded me of my dead dream and made me want to find a way to resurrect it.

This book was published just four years before the author's death.  I wonder what Grizzard's writings would have looked like had he lived.  Have mercy!

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