Say what you like about my column, but I have formed some real friendships through it. (I have made some real enemies too, but who cares about those bums?)
For example, there's my mate Mike Morsch. He is the executive editor of a string of papers outside Philly but he supplements these serious duties by writing a humor column, just as my column is a weekly holiday from my regular work on the PG editorial page.
In late 2001, I wrote a column about snoring, of which I am something of an authority. Mike somehow saw it and liked it. He sent me a column that he had written about snoring and asked me to read it. I blanched at this request. Over the years, I have been sent many pieces by would-be humorists and they usually turn out to be about as funny as a funeral. This one was really funny.
Mike and I became distant critics and editors of each other. I read his stuff -- in turn, he reads my stuff. We have both found this weekly exchange of constructive criticism to be very useful. Once a year or so, usually when I am in Philly for an annual cricket tournament, we meet over a big dinner that involves alcoholic beverages.
I heard from Mike on Wednesday. He liked my piece this week - whew, that was a welcome relief, especially as the actual readers of the PG mostly spared their praise in order to keep me humble. He added this observation:
"I am anxious to see how you handle the new administration. It doesn't strike me near as funny, mostly because it doesn't strike me near as stupid. Stupid is funny . . . except when people lose their lives in an ill-conceived war and their life savings in an unregulated industry full of crooks."
Frankly, I am anxious too and it's not because of politics. Mike wrote a great truth when he observed that stupid is funny. Can the Obama administration manage bursts of stupidity to match the outgoing Bush administration, which set a high standard in matters asinine? That is the question that has the comics frowning.