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I am now certified
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Would you allow an unlicensed electrician to install a bug zapper in your living room?

Would you let an unlicensed plumber unclog the throne in your reading room?

Would you give an unlicensed pilot permission to take you for a spin in his Sopwith Camel and allow an unlicensed insurance agent to sell your Significant Other a policy that would encourage you to do just that?

If the answer to all of the above is "yes," then we have nothing further to discuss. You may now go back to watching reruns of "My Mother, the Car." However, if it is important to you that your craftsmen be certified and bona fide, you will be pleased to know that I am now a Certified Modest and Much-Beloved Columnist, or CMMBC.

I am sure the liberal weenies at the New York Times are furious. To my knowledge, none are certified and certainly there is no way anyone at The Times can claim to be modest and/or much-beloved. By the way, last time I looked, the paper was hemorrhaging money and had to borrow $250 million from a Mexican billionaire to keep its ship tilting left.

As a certified columnist, I have sworn an oath that I will not take money from Mexican billionaires. They might pressure me to escribir en español and since I didn't exactly shoot the lights out in Mr. Germano's Spanish class at Russell High School, I probably would make less sense in Spanish than my critics say I do in English. Ole.

But I digress. Back to my singular honor. In order to be considered for certification as a Modest and Much-Beloved Columnist, I first needed three letters of endorsement from respected public officials. That was a slam dunk. Public officials adore me.

From Georgia Speaker David Ralston: "Mr. Yarbrough has done our state a great service by systematically reporting every month how much money is spent on me by lizard-loafered lobbyists. His persistence has given me a severe case of heartburn so I don't eat as much as I used to and now my pants are one size smaller. Fortunately, my ego hasn't shrunk."

And from State Majority Leader Chip Rogers: "As everyone knows, I am a wild and crazy guy. A couple of years ago as a joke, I pushed a bill through the state senate forbidding our body parts from being microchipped without our permission. Most people thought I was serious. Can you believe that? I was just fooling around. Dick Yarbrough saw it for the stupid joke it was and has been kind to bring it up from time to time to remind voters that I have a great sense of humor. Nanoo. Nanoo."

Former Gov. George E. Perdue endorsed me with these stirring words: "Until I became governor, no one had ever thought of something as innovative as ‘Go Fish, Georgia.' I took a lot of heat for that initiative but Dick Yarbrough pointed out that if our state was going to be competitive in the international marketplace of the 21st century, we would need to be a recognized world leader in bass fishing. As usual, he was right on the mark."

There were some tough questions on the certification test, such as: How many people do you reach weekly in the state of Georgia? Answer: More than all the people who watched Georgia Tech football last year but less than the number of those who now claim they didn't vote for Jimmy Carter for president.

Question: What are you doing in your columns to protect the ideals of freedom of expression?

Answer: You are asking the wrong person. You need to talk to the Woman Who Shares My Name. Every time I come up with an extraordinarily witty comment to share with readers, she says "You aren't putting that in the paper." My best stuff is left on the cutting room floor. I think that is unconstitutional.

Question: Have you exhibited any biases in your columns?

Answer: None. Nada. Zilch. Oh, some may claim that I favor the University of Georgia, the oldest state-chartered university in the nation, located in Athens, the Classic City of the South and home to 18 Rhodes Scholars, but where they get that notion, I know not. I just tell it like it is.

Final question: Why should you be granted certification as a Modest and Much-Beloved Columnist?

Answer: So I don't have to stand in line to renew my driver's license. Why else would I do this?

You can reach Dick Yarbrough at or P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, GA 31139. Yarbrough is a part-time resident of Dawson County.