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I’m With Stupid – May 5, 2017

NA-NA-NA-NA NA-NA-NA-NA HEY HEY HEY
by Todd Hartley

Sports fans probably understand the title of this column, but I imagine many of the rest of you don’t. Just know that the gibberish words I wrote are actually lyrics from the song “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye,” originally recorded by three guys from my home state of Connecticut under the fictitious band name Steam.

The song reached No. 1 for two weeks in December 1969 and has been covered by, among others, The Supremes, The Belmonts, The Nylons and, most notably, Bananarama. If you know that version, see if you can conjure it up in your head right now as a soundtrack while you read.

If you’re familiar with the song, you may remember that the next word after “Na-na-na-na na-na-na-na hey hey hey” is, of course, “goodbye,” all of which is my roundabout way of letting you know — (long, dramatic, drawn-out pause) — that this will be my last “I’m With Stupid” for The Aspen Times.

I wish I could say it’s because I’ve finally smartened and am no longer with stupid, but the truth is I’ve accepted an editor position with the Aspen Daily News, and seeing as how that creates a bit of a conflict of interest, I’ll have to drop the column for the time being. I may eventually resurrect it at the Daily News, or I may try to do something different, but for right now I’m going to chill and settle in to the new job.

But on to my valedictory. (Try to picture me standing at a podium, clutching some manner of trophy or plaque rather than sitting at a computer in the middle of the night in my underwear.)

For the past 467 Fridays, about three weeks shy of 9 years, The Aspen Times has allocated roughly 25 column inches to my drivel — squandering that precious real estate on stupid, as it were — and for that I am truly grateful, even though I’ve been getting paid $20 less per column than I was making for my previous column back in 1998.

For each of those 467 Fridays, with no reruns and no breaks, I’ve filled those 25 inches with something original, and for that, I’m pretty proud of myself. If you knew how out of character that sort of consistency is for me, you’d understand how Ripkenesque a streak it truly is.

So to The Aspen Times and myself, a hearty thank-you, and to you readers, especially the ones who read my column every week and took the time to respond or comment, an even heartier thank-you. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate both of you making the time in your busy lives to swallow the pap I’ve been spooning out.

And to all the people and entities I’ve offended over the years — including but not limited to (in chronological order) Miss Teen South Carolina, Hillary Clinton, transgender people, Arkansas, Kellie Pickler, CERN, Zimbabwe, astronaut Edgar Mitchell and my late grandmother, Scotland, the country of Georgia, the state of Georgia, the Knights Templar, Vogue India, fans of the penny, fans of Jackson Pollock, Damien Hirst, PETA, people who see the Virgin Mary in stuff, Hindus, Somalis, polygamists, gamers, people who wear the same outfit as their spouse, the homeless, the French, the New Jersey couple that named their son Adolf Hitler, Nigerians, Mormons, Bud Selig, astrophysicists, North Korea, the French again, Scientologists …

Jesus, I’m not even through the first year yet. Just forget it.

But to everyone I’ve upset over the years, I just want to say this — and if I ever had any real point to make, this is the one: I don’t care that you were offended by my words. It’s nothing personal. It’s just that your feelings are yours, and I’m not worried about them. I’m OK with myself as a person and with my beliefs, so if my opinion upset you, that’s your problem to deal with. I suggest you grow thicker skin.

Anyway, I always wondered what my parting words would be when it came time to sign off on this column. I thought for a while that I should try to write something profound, but that would not only be impossible, it would also be way out of character.

So instead, I’m going to leave you with some idiotic words I thought were actual song lyrics until way too late in my life (try to picture me singing on the steps at the Von Trapp mansion in Salzburg).

“So long, farewell, our feet are saying goodbye.”

Todd Hartley flits, he floats, he fleetly flees, he flies.

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