Taking a more positive outlook

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 20, 2003

I’m always a little nervous about writing anything that could remotely be perceived as being the slightest bit unpatriotic.

Personally, I think there are few things as patriotic as voicing an opinion – particularly one that is in the minority. Nothing is more in the tradition of our founding fathers.

I did that last week when in this space I criticized Halliburton for war profiteering.

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So on Monday, it was with no little trepidation that I hit the send/receive button on Outlook. While I steeled myself to be called unpatriotic and cursed for not supporting our troops, never in my wildest imagination did I expect what I received.

&uot;You are being too negative,&uot; said the e-mail from my friend Robert Pocklington, referring to my column of the day before.

I read it again to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating, but there it was.

Pocklington is the News-Herald columnist who writes on Thursdays and Sundays. He’s been accused of being a bit negative from time to time.

Being told by Pocklington that you are too negative is like being told by Vice President Cheney that you are too secretive, or by Bill O’Reilly that you’re a liar.

The absurdity of the accusation aside, I’m taking it as a wakeup call that my life is heading down the wrong path. I’m going to take serious pangs to be as positive and optimistic as possible henceforth.

Interesting story this week about the city’s Santa being fired for threatening to bomb the Housing Authority.

I was not surprised, having had a bizarre encounter with Santa myself a couple years ago.

I was away at lunch one Friday afternoon and when I returned, everybody in the news department was upset and shaken.

Santa had just paid them a visit. He stood in the middle of the newsroom, decked out in full holiday dress, yelling at the reporters and waving a big stick he was carrying. Santa was apparently upset with the lack of coverage he had received from the News-Herald.

A half-hour later, the phone in my office rang. Kris Kringle was back, and he was PO’d.

I raced to the front door and met him. I held the door shut as he pushed on the other side, shouting insults at me. I threatened to call the police if he did not leave. Mercifully, he did, because I don’t know how I would have explained that one to the kids.

While I felt my actions were justified, I haven’t had a restful Christmas since, fearing that Santa will sneak up on me and exact his vengeance. It’s pretty scary.

Some city officials took issue with a Smile & Scowl piece in last Tuesday’s paper in which the city earned a scowl for being what I thought was somewhat less than forthcoming and talking in circles over the public utilities department purge that took place recently.

They claim to have been totally forthcoming and that I was way off base in my criticism. I begged to differ. It just seemed to me like pretty severe punishment for what by any stretch of the imagination appears to have been a relatively minor infraction. But then again, that was back in my negative days, so maybe they were right.

So Merry Christmas to all, and watch out for Santa

Andy Prutsok is editor and publisher of the News-Herald. He can be reached at 934-9611, or via e-mail andy.prutsok@suffolknewsherald.com