The award is named for Spiro Agnew, who was vice president of the United States in the Nixon administration and famous for coming up with creative descriptions of Nixon enemies, such as "pusillanimous pussyfooters" and "hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history." He saved his best - nattering nabobs of negativism - for the media.
Agnew was so busy being clever that he forgot to remember that he had received some bribes and had to resign as vice president and go get a real job.
But I digress.
Being a Nattering Nabob of Negativism is reserved for only those elite few who can irritate the broadest cross-section of people possible. This doesn't just happen. You have to have work at it.
This past year I wrote more than 78,000 words. Of that number, many were nouns and verbs. I am pleased to report that with few exceptions the nouns and verbs managed to agree with each other, which is more than I can say about some of my detractors who would disagree with me if I said the sun rises in the east (or is it the moon?).
I may be the only writer in the Western Hemisphere, or at least in Marietta, that got the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Parliament, an ambassador and an apologist for President Peanut on my case, all in one year. That is the kind of stuff you must expect if you are a Nattering Nabob of Negativism.
The Atlanta Newspapers reported that Rep. David Scott had been named general rapporteur to the NATO Parliament. I opined I didn't think the Russians (a) knew who David Scott was or (b) cared. That, I thought, was one trait the Russians shared with most Cobb Countians.
The boys in Brussels didn't like that and the secretary-general or general secretary - titles confuse me - of the NATO Parliament wrote a huffy note and said the Russians did indeed know who Mr. Scott was and eagerly sought out his views on world affairs. He didn't indicate if that was after the Ruskies had ingested a few shots of vodka and would probably welcome the advice of Sheila the Family Wonderdog.
The guy who wrote the letter even invited me to come see Scott in action at the next session. Wouldn't you know it - that is the very week I have to have the tires rotated on the family sedan. Besides, I'm not sure where the session is being held. Some say Estonia. Others say Eatonton.
A member of the board of the James Earl Carter Center for the Aggrandizement of Inept Ex-Presidents Who Meddle in World Affairs wrote and chided me for criticizing the man on his birthday (Jimmy Carter's, not the chider). That's not fair. I have zinged President Peanut most every month of the year. People need to read my stuff carefully before making such accusations.
Still, I worry that Mr. Carter may boycott my funeral in order to appeal to his redneck friends but will attend my wife's funeral and sanctimoniously diss whoever is the current president. (See: King, Martin Luther, Jr. and Coretta Scott. Op. cit.) The man is chock-full of principle.
An honest-to-goodness ambassador temporarily headquartered at Emory University used some very undiplomatic language regarding my war with squirrels and wondered what kind of person would shoot at these helpless creatures. I was impressed that this is the kind of thing ambassadors worry about since there seems to be a fairly large problem in the world with people shooting other people.
I tried to tell him that it has been scientifically proven I couldn't hit one of the critters if they put the barrel of my Red Ryder pump- action BB gun with camouflage stock in their mouths and pulled the trigger themselves. As of this writing, the squirrels continue to make fun of me and throw birdseed at me every time I walk out the door. Like ambassadors, squirrels do not appreciate Nattering Nabobs of Negativism.
Despite my successes, The National Association of Truly Top-Notch Editorial Ranters doesn't care what I've done in the past. It is a new year and I must start all over again. Being a Nattering Nabob of Negativism is a hard job. I just make it look easy.
You can reach Dick Yarbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139.