Hardball is mostly out of my league

Column by Craig Marshall Smith


I have written some hardball columns, but invariably I throw them away. I have written about guns, politicians, Al Sharpton, abortion, same-sex marriages, and even about rodeos, but I am never satisfied afterward.

Maybe it's because I know there is nothing I can say that will make any difference. I might affect a handful of readers, but everyone else has made up their mind, or isn't listening.

When I heard that part of the state wanted to leave the state, I realized that I don't really know Colorado. I know I live in a very sophisticated county. I now know that there are many very unsophisticated counties, and that the locals are perfectly happy with that, living partly in the 19th century. And they're not perfectly happy with the rest of us.

I don't think they have our disparity in New Hampshire. The governor can give one-size-fits-all speeches. Hickenlooper has to be mindful of what goes on in Denver and Boulder, and Rico and Brush too.

There's another reason why I have thrown away hardball columns. Like I said, I am never satisfied afterward, and there's more to it than that. I don't feel good. I think I am intelligent and objective, but when I see what others believe and do, I grind my teeth and feel it's best to keep some things to myself, and leave those topics to commentators who can sleep at night after what they have expressed during the day.

I acknowledge that most of the time I am a softball writer. And half of the time, I am up to no great good, writing about wordplay and coffee babies. If you drink Frappuccinos you are a coffee baby.

There is one topic that I write about frequently that isn't softball, and whenever I do, that's when I receive the most responses. If I were to write that I was for or against guns, I would hear from both sides. You love them or you hate them.

But no one — with very disturbing exceptions — doesn't like animals, and especially our pets.

I don't know the first thing about moose, but I admire them. I always want to know the outcome of a bear that has wandered into town.

I wrote about the Running of the Bulls, and my mailbox was full. That was a tough one to write, because it's almost impossible to write anything worth reading when you are so angry you begin to preach, and I am against preaching, even by preachers.

Whenever I write about my dog, Smitty, I get lots of emails from readers who have adopted pets. There is nothing better than adopting a pet that has been discarded.

One reader was somehow in the right place when a middle-aged dog was left on a golf course in the middle of the night in another state.

She was shy and emaciated and weak. And now she runs around the yard like a dervish and sleeps with her new mother. Listen, I am a grouch and that won't change. But when it comes to the heartbeats at our feet, I am on high alert for their respect and love — or for disrespect.

When I adopted Smitty, his face was a rich, solid auburn. Now it's mostly gray. He no longer gets wellness examinations. He gets senior wellness exams. It's a powerful feeling to know that he may have five good years remaining.

I will leave Obamacare and immigration alone. I am in over my head. At least I know it, so you don't have to put up with some clod's attempt to explain things.

Whenever I read Charles Krauthammer, I say to myself that I am very glad I have not taken that road. I don't have that kind of stuff in me, and I don't want to pretend that I do.

Time to walk my dog.

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at craigmarshallsmith@comcast.net


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