I have written several columns about what I hate in the world. I've written about oil companies and bar jerks and living with little to no butt. Rarely do I write a column about something I love. Of course, that's because it's usually more fun to mock stuff. Seriously, give it a shot, it's awesome.

There are, however, things in this world I love. I love baseball, and good weather, and my family most of the time. I guess I love them all of the time, but that was hard to remember during this one car trip to Baltimore we all took when I was nine. I didn't really like any of them that day. It's fair – they didn't like me much either.

One thing I've always loved is my readers. Sometimes my readers and my family are the same people, in which case I love them twice as much. Except while driving to Baltimore, in which case everything evens out.

Last week I wrote a column about how affected I was by the death of Mitch Hedberg. But I was affected more when I received over 100 e-mails, calls, IMs, and hugs wishing me comfort and consolation. I got more response to that column than anything I've ever written, probably because it was the first time I really opened up in my column since September 11th.

I wanted to write a little tribute to my readers. And not just my readers, but everyone's readers. Without them, writers wouldn't exist. Some might, but they'd just be those emo kids writing in their live journal hoping someone stumbles on it during a google search.

Writers feed off the knowledge that they're reaching people. With the exception of the two weeks I took off after graduation, I've written at least one column for the last 275 weeks, mainly because I knew people were reading them.

My readers have done some pretty cool things. They've driven hours to see shows, e-mailed me on my birthday, and bugged their student activities directors until they relented and brought me in for a show so that people who had emailed me on my birthday could then drive a few hours to see it.

Many have defended my honor against those who have sent me hatemail, participated in petitions I've supported, and voted for me in awards ceremonies. One particular instance of support was extremely cool: After I wrote a column about how off-putting Jews for Jesus can be, one reader printed out 100 copies of that column and handed it to Jews for Jesus pamphleteers.

My readers aren't always wonderful. When you point out my typos in an unedited work, well, that is annoying. When you correct my small mistakes as if I can go back in time and change my column, well, that is annoying. And when you tell me that you want to stop reading my column because it's not funny anymore but you'll give me a few more chances, well, I unsubscribe you before you get the chance. You'd know that now, but I've already unsubscribed you. But overall, I love you guys. (Said like a drunk man with his arm around friends during last call).

Often I get asked how I come up with 800 new words every single week. For me, it's not coming up with 800 that is the problem – it's limiting myself to 800. Anyone who knows me knows I always have something to say. And you people are kind enough to read it, or at least let it sit in your mailbox and make me think you're reading it.

So, thank you, readers. You make it okay to fight the oil companies and insult the bar jerks and get through life sans posterior. Because I know you're always supporting me, except those of you who I have to occasionally unsubscribe because you were mean to me. But everyone left is really swell.

Last week really was inspiring. It was the most e-mails I'd ever gotten about a column – even more than when I made fun of Fox News. And that made me realize why I do what I do. I write because there are actually people who like it. As I head into the summer after spending another year subsisting on fast food and getting into car accidents, I smile knowing that each week there are even more of you who will defend my honor against hate mail and drive to see a show and send me birthday wishes. But don't do that next week because my birthday is not until September.

Speaking of Fox News, last week they announced that the pope died a full day before he did. In response, CNN just gave Florida to Hillary.

Sorry, I just needed to mock something before I finished. I was getting a little antsy.

Steve Hofstetter is the author of the Student Body Shots books, which are available at SteveHofstetter.com. He can be e-mailed at steve@stevehofstetter.com.