Witt: No problem being old and opinionated

Published 9:40 am Tuesday, January 8, 2019

This is only the third occasion in 11 years when this column has become a personal forum but it seemed important to let the readers know not everyone agrees all the time with the thoughts expressed here.

On Dec. 11, I received the following to my email, via Facebook (reproduced here in its entirety).

“Carolyn Abner doesn’t recommend Chuck Witt: ‘He is a negative and uninspiring contributor that the Winchester Sun is apparently desperate for good writers or they would not keep putting his caustic opinions in the paper which only serve to infuriate the public and is a bad reflection on the Winchester Sun and the community of Clark County, in general. He is continually trying to impress the public with his so called expertise and his outdated “educational” ideas. Chuck With [sic] is a disgrace to Winchester, in the eyes of most people here, from what I’ve been told … he’s an old man with a sour outlook on life, negative and opinionated, not to mention boring. Surely the newspaper can find more positive and resourceful individuals to contribute to the newspaper, than him. Hopefully the “cookie cutter” mold of him was disposed of when he was created…’”

Mrs. Abner is to be applauded for letting her feelings be known publicly, even if a more appropriate forum might have been through a response letter to the paper, and some contrasting opinion to whichever column or columns she found distasteful.

And she is correct with some of her remarks.

I am old. Older than yesterday, not quite as old as tomorrow, old to some, not so old to others, but hopefully not showing severe signs of senility just yet.

Opinionated? You bet! In thinking about this charge, it occurred to me that everyone is opinionated about something. There is probably not one individual on the entire planet who hasn’t an opinion about something.

We are all made up of opinions; it’s just a part of who we are. Mrs. Abner certainly expressed her opinion in the foregoing.

Negative. Yep, she’s probably right there, too. I’ve been negative about politicians and politics and some of the things in this community and about people who leave grocery carts in the parking lot and about the high price of drugs and stupid, misleading TV commercials, to mention a few.

While there are undoubtedly those who think some of that negativity is misguided, there are also some who have openly expressed agreement with much of it.

History and human experience illustrate, unless negatives are exposed, they are never corrected, as they often deserve to be.

We do not live in a society which can afford to be Pollyanna-

ish about itself. Consider all the things affecting life today: climate change, terrorism, unending war, homelessness, the opioid epidemic; the list could go on. If no one expressed negativism about these issues, nothing would ever be done to deal with them.

If one were to look back over the nearly 350 columns I have submitted to this paper, it would be obvious they are not all — maybe not even the majority — filled with negative comments.

It would have been more enlightening if Mrs. Abner had illustrated what she meant by my “so called expertise” and my “outdated educational ideas.” I would be pleased to quit touting expertise if I knew how I had done so and I am anxious to update any outdated educational ideas.

To the best of my knowledge, Mrs. Abner and I have never met so I must assume her evaluations of me personally have come from “what (she’s) been told.”

I regret I’ve presented myself in such a manner to anyone, but surely reliance on such assessments is not the most reliable way to rate someone.

Anyway, I recall what I was once told about opinions: They are like bellybuttons; everybody has one.

Thank you, Mrs. Abner, for yours … opinion that is, not bellybutton.

Chuck Witt is a retired architect and a lifelong resident of Winchester. He can be reached at chuck740@bellsouth.net.