My Regrets and Apologies

THE PECAN PARK EAGLE 2009 ~ 2015 Column # 2,031

2009 ~ 2015
Column # 2,031


I didn’t need the stress on top of the shingles product of stress that I’m already dealing with, but that’s simply the price we all pay on some level for our ongoing contact with the world – even when that contact outlet is also our hot-button channel to joy and passion in life.

I am writing here to express my regrets and apologies to anyone else out there who was offended by the column I wrote earlier on “The 2015 Annual Stella Awards”, based on information sent to me by a friend. It was intended as a humorous treatment of frivolous lawsuits, based on that unsolicited information – and my personal experience with another friend’s windshield sunscreen cover many years ago.

At no point did I intentionally, or even carelessly, decide to send you bad information. That’s not what we do here at The Pecan Park Eagle – or ever will do, as long as I’m around this place as editor and principal writer. We may make mistakes, at times, but we will not ever try to mislead or misinform you. And when the question arises, even by deflection, expect me to be on it like a cat on a June Bug every time.

I simply made the mistake of thinking that readers would take this piece lightly for what it was – material to entertain more so than to seriously inform. As it turns out, and as does happen humanly often enough, I was wrong on that count.

One of our readers, “shinerbock80” wrote this comment at the column file:

“This list dates back about 15 years. And while they might sound amusing, they are not true. Try this. link. It’s an interesting and thorough read.

“The Winnebago story is a decades old urban legend. My dad told me that one when I was a child in the 1970s.

“Furthermore, the original Stella Liebman case in 1994 was when she was handed a cup of coffee that was 190 degrees. In other words, an almost boiling cup of liquid handed to a 79 year old woman through her car window. When she removed the cup’s lid to add cream and sugar, the car was parked in the parking lot. She got third degree burns and was hospitalized for 8 days. McDonalds, btw, refused several settlement offers before losing the jury trial in which her attorneys argued that the coffee being served was much hotter than that served at other establishments and much hotter than a reasonable person would expect. Whether you believe that she deserved the big jury award or not, the true story shows that the woman was not stupid or negligent.”

My pre-cursory response to the later decision I made about writing this column was to leave my personal reply to “shinerbock80”, who happens also to be a respected colleague:

“I was writing for humor – not for history. My apologies for offending your more fundamental view of anything that goes to print.

“If all I ever wrote was biblically based, we would all be in deep doo. Maybe I should footnote all my columns with the following notations:

“(1.) Take me seriously;

“(2) Caution: humorous Intent is attempting an escape; and,

“(3) Don’t be so snarky about what you read this time. This one launches as the Internet ramblings of a restless, but somewhat likable and caring soul who does not write to please others – unless that just happens naturally.

“Have a nice day and please know this too: In spite of the great “oil and water” gulf that seems to often separate us by our very different intellectual inclinations and experiential perspectives, that I do very much respect your tenacious support of many of the same common community goals that I share with you.”

To my colleague, to everyone else, all I can add is this: By now you’ve probably figured out that The Pecan Park Eagle is not  the network news, the History Channel, National Geographic, or even Sports Illustrated, but we do aim for quality at whatever fallible level that may be possible. – We will never intentionally misinform (unless we are writing fiction and misinformation is a plot carrier) – and we will always strive to correct factual errors here as they come to our attention as being really important to correct.

All we ask today is that we all lighten up around here. The Pecan Park Eagle isn’t going to cause World War IV (I think we are already involved in an unannounced World War III) – or is it likely to bring about world peace or a cure for all disease. Around here, we will settle for a gentle summer rain on a hot August day as the model for our publication ambitions – or a smile that refreshes the spirit.

PS: I do have to say this much about the unfortunate recipient of monetary justice, Stella Liebman. – We hope that McDonald’s never again handed any customer of any age a scalding hot drink through a car window with one of those funky-sticking plastic tops already clamped down upon its dangerous contents.

Please feel free to leave a written comment. I promise not to write another “heavy” column again, any time soon, if ever.

Thanks, shinerbock80, for implicitly inspiring me to write this piece.

______________________________ (W)





8 Responses to “My Regrets and Apologies”

  1. Patrick Callahan '56 Says:

    Bill: it’s quite discouraging to see that someone in the reader group was offended by the recent posting of the “Stella Awards” (clip), which has been around for some time -in fact the one posted is most likely 6 to 10 months OLD. As I see it – the exercise was an effort to gain a laugh at some of the buffoons that are clogging the Court system – and also some of the buffoons that are handing out verdicts – smacks a little bit like the U S Congress. You do excellent work and take seriously your efforts to pen the interesting and the best in the Pecan Park Eagle; which is certainly not the S.O.P for many other such columns. Keep up the good work and —–DON’T LET THESE BASTARDS (OR THE SHINGLES) GET YOU DOWN!
    Callahan ’56

  2. Kyle Says:

    +1 Patrick. I enjoyed the column and look forward to the 2016 Stella Awards! I would actually prefer a quarterly Stella Awards!

  3. Tom Hunter Says:

    Bill: I would like to second Mr. Callahan’s concluding comment in “Latin”: ILLEGITIMI NON CARBORUNDUM. I’m offended by humorless scolds. And shake off the shingles as soon as you can.

  4. neal brown Says:

    I had the shingles too..YUK..and your writing should continue to be whatever you decide to put on paper. Comic -relief is always welcomed!

  5. James Says:

    You know you’ve made it when you have to write an open apology about an article on your personal blog. Congratulations 🙂

  6. Bob Blair Says:

    I have offended many with my dry sense of humor over the years and I have come to the conclusion that they just don’t get it, never will and don’t want to. They live to jump on the first opportunity to correct others. They are now better known as the politically correct.

  7. emmettmcauliffe Says:

    Nice write up including your quotes in the local St. Louis free paper The Riverfront Times This Week

  8. strider49 Says:

    As an antidote to depression induced by the legions running for President, I received your humor gratefully. Even as a lawyer, I found the anecdotes conceivable, but I ran them through the Snopes filter before sending them to others for the amusement you intended. None of this would have ruffled you if it weren’t for shingles knowing at your psyche. Best regards, Rob

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