Greetings, readers, it's your old pal Shaflin coming to you live from sold out Soldier Field.
Oops, guess I should ditch the Brent Musburger impersonation. Shaflin isn't in Chicago, has never seen the place. He just goes wherever Chapman goes-and Rob Chapman never goes to Chicago. Where's Chapman? Oh, he's OK. In fact, I think he's warming up a bit to his Shaflin alter ego. Isn't that right Chappie?
(Muffled sound comes from the corner of the office.)
He's agreeing. Take my word for it he's just tied up again (heh heh), can't come to the computer and, ah, asked me to pinch hit for him. Isn't that right Chappie? (More muffled sounds.)
We'll take that as a yes.
So what's on the agenda? Oh, yes, Chapman-the dude that usually writes in this space-just gets an unbelievable amount of mail from folks askin' opinions or needin' advice. Chappie don't have no opinions-can't afford 'em, he says. As for advice, he wants to offer some ho-hum deal about not taking wooden nickels or not playing in the road. Whoever saw a wooden nickel anyways?
But old Shaflin, he'll give you the straight scoop, the real deal and we ain't talking Holyfield. Shaflin will draw down deep from the well of life, shoot from the hip, mix as many metaphors as needed to get-er done.
So let's see. Gotta move this mess offn' Chappie's desk first. He likes it when Shaflin calls him Chappie, isn't that right? (Still more muffled sounds.) Yep, that must've been a yes, too.
There, got the letters. The rest, Shafflin will scoop into one big pile, and swish, there it goes into the waste bin. Would've been a perfect three pointer. Chappie don't take shots, he don't throw nothin' away. Don't understand, though, why his face is so red now.
So let old Shaflin get at it…
Dear Mr. Chapman,
I just read the other day that a school in my native Britain is doing away with having children raise their hands in class. Instead, they are being asked to use their thumbs. Do you think this is a good idea? -Lenny of Liverpool
Aaaay! The Fonz would be proud of his friends across the pond. Still, old Shaflin worries about the confusion this might cause in the classroom. Say child “A” is merely thumbing his nose at child “B” and teach thinks he's responding to a question. (Yeah, we know, no one should be thumbing their nose at anyone, but Shaflin needs an example.) But, oh-no, when child “A” don't have the answer and teach is looking to be enlightened, the kid's had it. But that raising the hand thing (ala Arnold Horshack) can be annoying, too. Shaflin suggests kids just ball up a fist and pound on the side of the desk when they want to be recognized. And, boy, Shaflin's sure they'll get recognized.
Dear Mr. Chapman,
Recently read an AP story about how the letter “T” is disappearing all over the Georgia Tech campus. I'm a frosh here and I'm worried about the impact on the University as well as my personal well being. Heck, it's costing upwards of $100,000, we're told. I'm worried they'll come after my T's next. -_homas _u_ _le
Dear homas ule,
Shaflin thinks it's terrible they're stripping “Ts”. That's just not right to do in Georgia-not right at all. But keep your tee shirt on and don't get too teed off. It may just be that there aren't enough “T” times down at Augusta, or maybe-no dancing about the matter-there just isn't enough “T” for two. Shaflin suggests checking the harbor. The last time that much “T” disappeared, that's where it ended up.
Of course, if the “Ts” are gone for good, Shafin recommends they just rename the school Georgia Ech. Go Yellow Jackes!
Dear Mr. Chapman,
Every year I go out to the pumpkin patch and wait for the Great Pumpkin, only I always fall asleep. Really, it's like I'm stuck on camera in some sort of time loop. No matter what I do, I fall asleep. I'm starting to feel like a real pumpkin head. Do you think I should give up and go trick or treating this year? – Linus
Dear Pumpkin Head-er Linus,
Stop gourding yourself and sow the seeds of hope. Think how disappointed all your friends would be if you weren't different. Shaflin knows millions are depending on you to keep trying year after year after year after year. Now orange you glad you wrote?
And now a letter from-what's this? A flying pumpkin in the news room? What?!!! It's cutting Chapman loose!
Shaflin better get out of here before he becomes squash.