Grasshopper Soup: Only the best can recognize the best

Bob Sweigert

My final column will appear next week. The Sierra Sun has decided to change up its Opinion pages. Meanwhile, the paper is also conducting a survey to get your input on which columnists you prefer. Fill out the survey today. It’s never too late.

It sounds like we will still get our weekly cheek full of free Pine Nuts though. McAvoy Lane’s column, Pine Nuts, is one of the best. McAvoy is not afraid to tell it like it is.

Grasshopper Soup began Oct. 3, 2003, as a once-every-two-weeks column in the Tahoe World, and has spiced up the opinion page of the Sierra Sun once a week since June 7, 2006, with a few exceptions. Thanks to both papers for an epic 10 years.

After reading through my Grasshopper Soup archives for some consolation, I got more than I expected. I was humbled by the quality of writing I had produced. I have enjoyed sharing what I know, what I have experienced and seen, and my thoughts, but I don’t like to sing my own praises, especially in public.

But, as I read what I had written over the last 10 years, I realized it was time to stand up, take a full bow and say that Grasshopper Soup is the best, the most real, most honest, most generous newspaper column ever written. If I only win the silver, it’s because McAvoy Lane won the gold.

I regret that I can’t keep giving you more of the impressive writing you love. I hope to publish a collection of the best of the best for you soon.

Grasshopper Soup, though not perfect, has been brilliant, profound, fearless, candid, poetic, inspiring, light-hearted, educational, funny, insightful, simple and overflowing with wisdom. The variety alone guarantees that Grasshopper Soup stands without equal.

Thank you to all the young teens and young adults who made it a point to read my column every week. My paternal instincts were a big part of the fabric and style of Grasshopper Soup.

All I can say to my young fans, besides thanks, is I’m glad I’m really not your dad, and that no, I don’t know what you should do with your life. Take my dad’s advice. He said whatever you do in life, be the best. That’s what I did.

When you’re the best, you don’t mind taking the snap and running with the ball.

Young people have been among my most dedicated admirers. I want to remind them that the U.S. Constitution says that the laws of nature entitle you to a separate and equal station in life.

But separate and equal does not mean perfect. Perfectly fair and equal relationships are hard enough between friends, couples, families and other small groups of people, but the only way to create equality and fairness for 300 million people is by force, and by eliminating personal freedoms.

The creation of a perfectly fair, safe and equal society for 300 million people is a statistical, logistical, legal, economic, social, organizational, physical and natural impossibility.

Those who try to force equality and fairness on people are ambitious bullies and intellectual frauds whose primary goal is social, political and financial power. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing and only make the gap between the rich and poor wider.

To those of you who complained about Grasshopper Soup, I am sorry you chose to get so caught up in the emotional aspect of issues and jump to conclusions without taking the time to really get to know the other side.

You pettifoggers would complain about a sign in a crowded cafe that says, “Unattended children will be given an espresso and a free puppy,” and accuse the cafe owners of promoting child abuse.

The occasion of writing a farewell column was so overwhelming I decided to write two. Next week I will comment on one of the more controversial stands I took over the past 10 years, then give you a deeper perspective on why I took other controversial stands.

Don’t miss the Grasshopper Soup grand finale on Oct. 2.

Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, former college instructor and ski instructor. He has a B.A. and an M.A.T. from Gonzaga University. He has lived at Lake Tahoe for 30 years.

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