There's a line from Billy Joel's "Piano Man" that holds true for Nichols, Madison's best-known political commentator and best-liked agitator. It's the part where folks sit at the bar, put bread in his jar and say, "Man, what are you doin' here?"
Nichols is a regular contributor to The Nation and the author or coauthor of a half-dozen books; he has a national profile and more friends in high places than Garth Brooks has in low ones. And yet he still lives in li'l ol' Madison, writing for The Capital Times, hanging at Ancora, giving of his time to one and all.
Some people actually fault Nichols for being just too darn nice, which they assume is, on some level, an act. So what if it is? As a wise man once said: "La la-la di-di da, La-la di-di da, da dum."