In order to keep my national certification as a modest and much-beloved columnist, I am required to submit annually a State of the Column message. Thank you for your patience and understanding. Please stand and applaud if you hear something that floats your boat or look bored if you don't. You may be on television.
"My fellow Georgians, ladies and gentlemen and significant others, I am pleased to tell you the state of this column has never been better. (Applause.)
Let me say at the outset that I will not need two teleprompters to tell you this and won't swivel my head like Linda Blair in "The Exorcist" or a certain president that will go unnamed so that if I get some angry mail, I can say I was talking about Millard Fillmore. (Sustained applause.)
"As I have done for the past 15 years, I will continue to put nouns, verbs, predicates and all that stuff in some order of semblance and will separate them with the right number of commas. (Hoots of derision from the editors.)
"Being a modest and much-beloved columnist is more difficult than I make it look. One of the things you expect from me is to be your advocate with our elected officials. (Booo!) I will be working with members of Congress this year (Booo!) to break the news that they have the approval rating of a tree frog, which won't make me many friends among tree frogs! (Hahaha!)
"As for the Legislature, I will try to get that crowd out of town before they hurt somebody. I plan to achieve this by pricking the oversized egos that are interspersed among that body - which should keep me busy for a couple of eons. (Applause.)
Unfortunately, please understand that when they get tired of my barbs, they will come back home and get in your way while you are trying to eat lunch. (Booo!)
"As is my policy, I will not accept any gifts, lunches, tickets or working trips to Djibouti from lizard-loafered lobbyists (Sustained applause.) That is because lobbyists won't offer me any goodies since I can't vote on their pet projects (Booo!) Let me assure you, however, that if I could vote and lizard-loafered lobbyists gave me tens of thousands of dollars plus a couple of golf outings, it would absolutely not influence my decisions. (Hahaha!)
I plan to continue my award-winning work with the humor-impaired. (Applause.) I am pleased to announce today that we are close to an agreement for State Senate Majority Leader and CLUG (Co-unelected lieutenant governor) Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock, to serve as poster boy for this insidious malady. Mr. Rogers has been humor-impaired for a number of years and I hope that in 2012, I will be able to turn his frown upside down. (Sustained Applause.)
"Again this year, my columnist commandos will infiltrate meetings in order to give you a behind-the-scenes look at important issues. Last year, my commandos dressed as potted plants and attended one of Jimmy Carter's self-congratulatory meetings in which he talked about walking across the Pacific Ocean to meet that fat guy that ran North Korea before Eternal President Fatso kicked the bucket. I am pleased to say that no one noticed the commandos because Mr. Carter's Secret Service agents also resembled potted plants, only they had ear plugs in the palm fronds and looked bored to tears. (Hahaha!)
"A number of challenges lie ahead in the coming year. First, I will be trying to figure out how legislators think they can make charter schools work when they have screwed up public education almost beyond recognition. (Sustained applause. Some boos from school choice activists.)
Legislators are prone to say things like, "I have a lot of teachers back in my district and, boy howdy, do I listen to them" and - my personal favorite - "Education is in my blood." I will be trying to ascertain if public schoolteachers believe that unadulterated hogwash or would they prefer to come to Atlanta and throw up on the shoes of the first legislator that says that to their face? (Sustained Applause. No boos.)
In closing, let me say that it is a high honor to serve once again as your modest and much-beloved columnist. God bless America. God bless the University of Georgia, the oldest state-chartered institution in the nation, located in Athens, the Classic City of the South. And God bless Millard Fillmore!" (A standing ovation that I think is still going on. I love my readers.)
You can reach Dick Yarbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, GA 31139. Yarbrough is a part-time resident of Dawson County.