No doubt you’ve noticed that some newspaper columnists occasionally do a “From the Mailbag” column, serving up readers’ comments, questions, and corrections. I am one of those columnists.
You might think this is a lazy way to fill space during a week in which I am not inspired to write a single-topic column. You might be correct about that.
Still, it has become apparent to me that your words are usually better than mine, so why not use them? Let’s go to the mailbox:
DEAR DAVID: I just read your column on “Shrinkflation,” about products getting smaller while the price goes up. My house was built in 1972. In our downstairs bathroom, the toilet paper holder is cemented in the wall, an original part from fifty years ago. I just noticed that a new roll of toilet paper bought today, is just half the width of the holder! Signed, Ron. Dear Ron: I received several similar responses about the shrinkage of toilet paper. The two most commonly used words were “thinner” and “narrower.” Ironically, these are the two least used words about the trend in American rear ends these days.
DEAR DAVID: I just wanted you to know that my wife and I enjoy your column. We actually have a weekly routine. I read the column aloud to her during breakfast in the morning. It’s just a thing we started, and now we do it each week. Do you find this unusual? Signed, Jim. Dear Jim: It’s funny you should mention this. I also read my column to my wife. However, we do this at night. She sometimes has trouble sleeping, and apparently, my column is like verbal Ambien.
DEAR DAVID: Maybe you can explain this to me: Anybody who wants a job can get one. Gas, although pricey, is plentiful. Our kids are back in school. We’re back in church, we eat out, we go shopping. My 401k is growing steadily. We can attend sporting events again. Soon, our country will finally begin to rebuild crumbling bridges, and repair and widen outdated highways. Most people are finally getting vaccinated, and fewer of us are getting seriously ill, or even dying. Yet most people I know are angry and want to overthrow the government. Why is this happening? Signed, Angela. Dear Angela: Certainly we can all find something to complain about, and many of us do. It’s human nature, of course. Sadly, for many of us, anger is oxygen, and we find a never-ending supply on the TV channels and websites that ring up huge profits when their opinion hosts get folks riled up. Add to that the heaping helping of misinformation that gets shared on social media, and you have a recipe for discontent. People were also angry in rural Alabama when I grew up in the 1960s. Thankfully, their ranting and raving were largely confined to their homes or the nearest barbershop. Now, it’s on the internet for everyone to see. Some people call that progress. Not me. So yes, good things are happening, but as we’ve noticed in recent years, whoever is in the White House can seemingly do nothing right. As I’ve often said, if the president (any president) came to your town and healed the sick and afflicted, about half the residents would be thrilled. The other half would call him a no-good so-and-so and scream, “What took him so long?”
DEAR DAVID: I just wanted to point out a typo on one of your recent Facebook posts. You were promoting an upcoming personal appearance, and you invited us to your “Book Singing.” I was wondering if you would be singing hymns, hip-hop, or rock ‘n roll. Please let me know. Signed, Jan. Dear Jan: You are correct, I typed in the wrong word. That particular event was actually a Book Sinning. It drew a huge crowd.
DEAR DAVID: I have a comment on “Shrinkflation.” You mentioned several grocery items, but you left out a very important product that is also shrinking. I have bought size 36 jeans for many years, but I have noticed lately that they no longer fit the way they used to. They are now much tighter around the waist. Do you think that Wrangler is using less material these days, and they’re trying to fool me into thinking their jeans are still Size 36? Signed, Joe. Dear Joe: I have noticed the same problem with my jeans as well. And I don’t think it has anything to do with the fact I’ve been eating twice as many Little Debbies to make up for the reduced snack cake sizes. In fact, from what I’ve heard on TV, there’s a good chance Dr. Fauci has something to do with this scheme.
Until next time, keep those cards, letters, and e-mails coming!
(David Carroll, a Chattanooga news anchor, is the author of “Hello Chattanooga: Famous People Who Have Visited the Tennessee Valley,” available at ChattanoogaRadioTV.com. You may contact him at 900 Whitehall Road, Chattanooga, TN 37405 or RadioTV2020@yahoo.com)