My path and the late, great Lewis Grizzard’s never crossed here at the AJC, but colleagues still talk about him sometimes. Namely, how he’d never touch a computer. An assistant would input the legendary columnist’s missives, while he remained a typewriter man.
“They sent him to the 1991 World Series in Minneapolis and he walked in with his portable Smith Corona,” recalled my colleague Tom Stinson. “He typed out a live column on deadline, then got on the phone to dictate it to his personal secretary. She in turn keyboarded it into the AJC computer system.”
Another colleague, Todd Duncan, recalled that Lewis once sent him an email to compliment a headline Duncan wrote for one of his columns – via his assistant, as Grizzard wanted nothing to do with email, either.
So this seems sort of amusing: Grizzard’s books are being re-released in electronic form.
Publishers NewSouth Books and Green-E Books plan to reintroduce Grizzard to a new generation of techno-savvy readers. NewSouth Books has re-released “Elvis Is Dead and I Don’t Feel So Good Myself” and “They Tore Out My Heart and Stomped That Sucker Flat” in paperback and e-versions. Green E-Books has re-released four other titles as e-books: “If Love Were Oil, I’d Be About A Quart Low;” ” Don’t Bend Over In The Garden Granny, You Know Them Taters Got Eyes;” “I Took A Lickin’ And Kept on Tickin’ and Now I Believe in Miracles;” and “When My Love Returns From The Ladies Room, Will I Be Too Old To Care?”
NewSouth also plans to re-release two more titles in early 2012: “If I Ever Get Back to Georgia, I’m Gonna Nail My Feet to the Ground” and “My Daddy Was a Pistol and I’m a Son of a Gun.”
All the re-released titles are available at www.amazon.com and www.bn.com. You can also see the New South site or the Lewis Grizzard sites – www.newsouthbooks.com and www.lewisgrizzard.com – for information.
I did a little noodling around (on the computer) and unearthed this vintage Grizzard column which is not only holiday themed, but also gives you a sense of how what he thought of computers. It originally ran on Dec. 2, 1983
“Santa pines for old days”
THE NORTH POLE – Santa Claus, in a rare, exclusive interview this week, indicated he is ’seriously considering’ retirement from Christmas.
The once-jolly old fellow, who looked somewhat beat as he took a brief break from preparing for Christmas 1983, said the demands upon his time and energy are continuing to grow with each holiday season.
‘I’m not as young as I used to be, ‘ said Claus, ‘And Christmas isn’t what it used to be, either. Christmas used to be a snap for us up here. We’d hold our first staff meeting around the middle of November, and we never had any trouble having the sleigh loaded and everything ready to go by Christmas eve.’
‘Now, ‘ Claus went on, ‘the elves and I hold our first organizational meeting in July and we’re still lucky to meet our deadline and budget. Christmas is no longer just another holiday. It’s big business, big bucks and big Christmas lists.’
A smile broke across the old man’s bearded face as he began to muse about the old days of Christmas.
It used to be simple
‘It was simple back then, ‘ he said. ‘A toy train for little Johnny, a doll for sister Sue. A few nuts and candy sticks in the stockings, that’s all anybody really expected of me.
‘And the treats they used to leave for me. Milk, homemade cookies. Today, I get a bottle of Perrier water and what was left over from the cheese ball.’
Claus was asked if anything specific had happened during his preparation for this Christmas that had caused him to consider getting out of the Christmas game.
‘It’s those dolls, ‘ he said. ‘What do they call ‘em? Cabbage Patch Kids, that’s it. Thirty million boys and girls on my Christmas list and every one of ‘em wants a Cabbage Patch doll.’
Again, Claus remembered the good old days.
‘I’ll tell you about dolls, ‘ he began. ‘There was Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy. Now, those were great dolls. And then kids wanted dolls that cried and talked and even dolls that had to have their diapers changed.
‘What’s with this Cabbage Patch doll? It doesn’t do any of those things. And why would anybody want a doll that looks like an elf with his face mashed in?’
One of the elves mugged
Claus was asked what he intended to do about filling the Christmas wishes of all the children who fully expected to find Cabbage Patch dolls under their trees Christmas morning.
‘You tell me, ‘ he answered. ‘I sent one of the elves down to see if he could pick up a few. He stood out front of a department store for three hours and when he finally got inside, he managed to buy two dolls, but a woman mugged him in the parking lot and took ‘em both. Elves are easy to mug, you know.
‘In my many, many years of being involved with Christmas I have never seen anything like this. Grown people fighting over dolls. If that’s the Christmas spirit, Rudolph doesn’t have a sinus problem.’
Claus was asked what, if anything, could make him change his mind about retiring from Christmas.
‘Maybe if we got back to basics, I would consider sticking around a few more years, ‘ he said. ‘Maybe if people stopped their mad rushes to the shopping malls and quit fighting over parking places and got back to the old Christmas habits of giving and sharing, Christmas could be fun again. It’s all the greed that has me thinking about hanging up my reindeer for good.’
Claus was asked if the interviewer could have one ‘Ho-Ho-Ho’ before leaving, just for old times’ sake.
‘I’d like to, ‘ he answered, ‘but I’ve got to get back to my computer.’
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