When I started this column umpteen months ago, I asked you a question derived from one of my favorite Peanuts strips: Has it ever occurred to you that you might be wrong?
Well, it occurs to me that I might be wrong.
Now, this isn’t necessarily a new revelation. There have been hints and allegations all along the way. When I wrote my column on fashion, one of my co-workers told me her friend read it and “didn’t think I was very well informed.”
There are a lot of things I’m not very well informed about. After several months of making up things to be angry about, I've begun to realize that this world might be a better place if people like me would shut up every once in a while about things they don’t understand.
If there’s one thing I hoped to have conveyed through this column, it’s that our society can be pretty silly, and sometimes it’s worth mocking the things everyone loves — not for the sake of being contrary, but just to avoid taking things too seriously. When it comes right down to it, none of us really know much of anything.
But still, I think it’s about time I cleared the air about a few things:
When I wrote about hot dogs and sandwiches, I completely made up the Earl of Club, the Earl of Reuben and the Earl of Panini. There were no such historical figures, and I should have known better than to deceive my readers, especially now in the world of fake news and alternative facts.
After I wrote my column on figurative language, one of my mentors — a man who is no stranger to the craft of opinion writing — warned me to be careful when writing about language, because such columns can often come across as snobbish. (Snobbish? Me?) He added that my column pulled it off OK, but I sense he was just trying to spare my feelings.
In response to my Halloween column, my co-editor’s roommate sent me a lengthy email setting me straight on the subject: “Halloween is when we embrace parts of ourselves that we cannot always demonstrate: our intrinsic, altruistic desire to save the galaxy from a tyrannical government, or our celebration of a new age of strong female characters who can do s--- like flip vans with their freakin’ minds.” Fair enough.
Also, I have to admit that I’ve never read The Lottery. I just know about the plot through cultural osmosis and my parents’ memories from high school English.
My space column was a pretty rancid pile of drek, and one reader justifiably called me out on it: “The prosperity and power of America in the latter third of the 20th century owes a lot directly and indirectly to the Apollo program. It wasn't cheap, but those dollars were not blasted into space as some people imagine. They were spent here on earth, in America, and spent wisely.”
And my column on love was pretty hypocritical, considering the fact that I was a month into a pretty good relationship.
One criticism I still take umbrage with was a Facebook commenter who said my column on “Why you don’t matter” was “written by a college kid who probably just learned the definition of nihilism.” I have known the definition of nihilism for at least a couple of years, thank you very much.
While I’m here, I have some people to thank. The first is my mother, my most dedicated reader, who texted me every time my column was published to tell me how good it was. I’m sorry for all the references to drinking and uses of the word “crap” and “heck.”
The second is British comedian David Mitchell. The entire tone of this column was directly lifted from his brand of droll sardonicism. If he ever happens to read this, I know I said in one of my columns that I detested celebrity wedding crashers, but you have an open invitation to my wedding, sir.
Also, I guess it's worth thanking my editors, Kaitlyn and Chuck, for thinking it was a good idea to give this crotchety young man a platform.
Well, that’s about it for me. While I’m being self-indulgent, here’s a complete list of my 19 Quite Contrary theses:
1. Partying and barhopping is exhausting and vastly overrated
2. Fashion doesn’t matter. Except when it does. Dress only well enough that no one notices you.
3. There’s nothing inherently good about Disney.
4. A hot dog is a sandwich.
5. Criticizing the internet is cliche and hypocritical. Stop worrying and hail our new robot overlords.
6. Toe the line and stop misusing expressions. Unless it's "literally," in which case I could care less (but I could care more).
7. Halloween doesn't mean anything.
8. Stop trying to get me to dance.
9. I don't care about your pet, and pigs get a bum rap.
10. Keep your kids off social media.
11. You are a tiny, microscopic speck in a universe that doesn’t care about you, and that should be a source of relief.
12. People who have everything together are secretly falling apart.
13. Celebrities who crash weddings are rude.
14. Going to space won't solve our problems here on earth.
15. Other people's relationships are not that special. Don't trust people who love love.
17. Surprises aren’t fun. Surprises are stressful and impractical and they ruin friendships.
18. Your childhood was boring.
19. I am wrong about everything. (Disregard items 1-18.)
William T. Perkins is a senior studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Is William wrong about everything? Let him know by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.