A column? Me? Say it ain’t so

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Joel Martin

They want me to write a what? A column? Seriously? I havenít done one of those in I donít know how many years.

And they want it when? Hoo boy.

Okay, so what do I write about? Thatís always the problem when it comes to columns. Youíre supposed to have fresh new perspectives on all sorts of things. But all my perspectives are sadly stale.

No politics, no religion. Thatís for certain. No matter what I write, somebody will take mortal offense at it. I donít want to get a brick through my window some night over something stupid I said in the paper.

Not sports, either. Everything I know about sports would fit in a thimble and still rattle around.

Okay, thatís three topics ruled out. How about something I can use? Timeís slipping away.

My family? Okay, how much space have we got? Iíve got eight kids, some still at home, and none of them has been what you would call ordinary. I have so many stories to tell, some of which arenít gross or embarrassing. Not embarrassing for me, anyway. Them Iím not so sure about. And I really need to stay in their good graces because Iím not getting any younger and at least one of them has to like me well enough not to put a pillow over my face in the nursing home. So Iíd probably better hold on to those stories.

Címon, think! Gotta write about something.

I see a couple of co-workers who went before me wrote about their journalism careers. Canít do that. Iím not a journalist. Journalists are the Fourth Estate,, the watchdogs, one of the linchpins of our society. They serve a High and Noble Calling. Me, I just try to get a paper out every day.

Iíve been working at the greatest newspaper in the Northwest since 1997. I started out as one of the young ones and now Iím the geezer. My official title right now is copy editor/paginator, but Iíve worn more hats over the years than a mannequin in a millinery shop. For the last five years Iíve been laying out the news, fixing typos, threatening reporters with evisceration for misplacing apostrophes and even occasionally writing a feature or two. And now a (spit, curse!) column.

Whoa! Is that the time? Arrggh!

Editorís note: This was found on Joelís computer two minutes before deadline. Joel himself was found huddled and whimpering under his desk. Weíre trying not to make any sudden moves and hoping heíll recover in time to lay out tomorrowís paper.

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