A few days ago I attempted a bit of what I thought would be universally taken as innocuous law-related humor in telling a tale about a Statehouse fly whose last living act was to make a small comma-like deposit onto a copy of the Indiana Marriage Amendment(SJR-7) and thereby prompting a tongue-in-cheek Indiana Supreme Court decision: "In Re Flyspeck".
Well, "innocuous" it didn't turn out to be. It seems I managed to rankle a number of constituencies out there. You would have thought that the word following the "Don" in my name was "Imus".
First there was the comment from the Executive Director of an organization called "Flies Have Feelings, Too", who bitterly chastised me for my insensitivity to the fact that these tiny insects have saved the Indiana taxpayers countless dollars. "Wait 'till they find out that they [the General Assembly] just LOWERED their pay from $ 11,600 a year to only $2.07", he exclaimed proudly. I would never have thought of that.
Then there were the insect control people who jumped on my case for suggesting that they hadn't done their job in letting the little hero of my tale stay alive in the Statehouse over the winter of 2004-05 so it could perpetuate its dive-bombing deed. "We promise 100% eradication", the agitated caller yelled, "And that's what we continue to deliver to the people of Indiana and their democratically elected representatives in fulfillment of our corporate responsibility." I have my suspicions: I think he was really a well-heeled lobbyist.....my own termite guy's sentences are limited to five words each no longer than as many letters. But I apologized anyway and will be in rehabilitation for the next couple of weeks.
Next there was the letter from the American Family Association pointing out that my use of the four-letter "s" word (from which I had respectfully removed the middle two letters) had violated the "sanctity of the marriage amendment". I didn't take that one lying down. "How is MY description of YOUR marriage amendment detracting from YOUR marriage?" I wrote back. I never got an answer. Just a copy of their ad in the Anderson paper attacking Representative Terri Austin and a request for contributions. How do I get off of their mailing list?
There was also the law professor from an out-of-state institution that took me to task for suggesting that something as innocuous as a little piece of fly poo-poo could possibly have the legislative meaning I attributed to it in my story. He insisted that placement of an organic punctuation mark only applied to "activist judges", and not to the legislature itself. He supplied me with a host of references, most of them verses in the Old Testament, to support his proposition. "You should understand the careful choice of the word 'construe' ", he opined. In a momentary lapse of professional judgment, I penned back something about "construe YOU, buddy". I should know by now that out-of-state law professors are hardly ever one's buddies unless one's first name is Eric.
But it wasn't all critical. I got nice notes from follow contributor Alex Blaze, and even one from Roseanne Barr saying she was glad to see someone on an LGBT website wading in on other than LGBT issues....like flies, for example, and for me not to pay much attention to Alex anyway for being critical of her. I told her he has already forgiven her and has moved on before even serving his own rehabilitation.
Watch for his own forthcoming piece on how one itsy-bitsy spider (also at the Statehouse) forever changed the law on privatizing the Indiana Lottery.