Tongue-in-cheek opinion on pool brings out serious side

OPINION: THE funny thing about having a sense of humour is you soon find out who doesn't.

I wrote a tongue-in-cheek column about the rivalry between Hervey Bay and Maryborough this week and today I received an unsigned poison pen letter, chiding me for my "horrible" column, apparently taking me at face value that Maryborough should not have a 50m pool.

Let me set the record straight.

Of course I believe Maryborough should have its own pool.

I'm shaking my head at the computer monitor that I even have to write those words.

The point of the column was to make a light-hearted joke about the two cities, not to suggest the people of Maryborough should hit the road an hour early each morning so they can enjoy the benefits of Hervey Bay's facilities.

It poses the frightening question: Do the people who read that column really think I am that obsessed with whale sculptures?

The writer of the poison pen letter, in lovely cursive writing, further assured me that I am "not as well received as I think".

I am well aware that I'm not always well received - I do read the comments on my opinion pieces after all.

But I really don't see that my job means that I should always be well received.

I know not everyone will agree with what I write - sometimes not even the majority of people do.

That's fine. Other people are entitled to their opinion just as I am entitled to mine.

The point is to start a debate, to create some interesting discussion or even just, God forbid, to have a bit of fun.

I've got broad shoulders - even some of the meaner comments really don't get to me.

I think if people have to stoop to a certain level of nastiness to get their point across that probably says more about them than it does about me.

A few months ago I wrote about chasing Campbell Newman across Maryborough when he came to visit.

In the column I sardonically (or so I thought) assured my readers that I had an interest in politics that extended beyond what Julia Gillard wears, or whether it's right that she has a hairdresser for a boyfriend when clearly she should be getting married and having kids.

Apparently sarcasm doesn't transmit well via the written word, because a gentleman left an outraged message on my phone telling me it "wasn't like me" to say such judgmental things and that I should leave Julia alone.

If that gentleman reads this, please rest assured that I was merely mocking those who do have such a cotton candy view of politics - not expressing those views myself.

I did a column about immunising your children a few weeks ago and got bombarded by emails from the anti-vaccine crew.

Some were really lovely and told me how they felt on the subject - many even had perfectly valid reasons for not immunising their kids, such as severe allergic reactions.

Others never rose past the point of spiteful vitriol long enough to make a convincing case for their argument.

I know which emails I read all the way through and which people I took the most notice of - it was those who chose not to show me how truly repugnant they could be.

Don't even get me started on the times I've weighed in on breastfeeding, the behaviour of unruly children or smacking children only to be told I wasn't entitled to an opinion because I don't have any offspring.

I've had people suggest I shouldn't have children or that they think I don't like children.

Let's make this clear - I do like kids. I might even have one or two one day.

But I do believe in choice when it comes to breastfeeding, I do believe in disciplining kids and I don't think my right to express an opinion hinges on whether or not I have entered into the no-doubt life altering state of parenthood.

Finally, for those who still persist in having no sense of humour, who get no level of enjoyment or benefit from my comment pieces whatsoever - I have some good news for you.

If you look up at the right-hand corner of the page there is a little cross.

Move your cursor over the little cross and click.

Then I will go away.

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