• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

Here's Johnny - Facebook redeems itself

And now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their friendly neighborhood columnist. (Women, too.) This was my thought Monday at 1:45 p.m. I needed to finish this column that afternoon before heading to Midway City Council, because the following morning I'd be writing the council story and a piece about the first Woodford Industry Day. Then I got to thinking, as I sometimes do. Often it gets me into trouble, but not, I hoped, this time. I'd already written a piece about the Voices of Versailles Facebook page and the March 2 Here's Johnny addressed my recent return to the not-always wonderful world of social media, albeit with a work-related account. At 1:55 p.m., I posted a plea for column suggestions, promising an all-expenses-paid mention in the column itself and my undying gratitude for at least a few days. The first respondent asked a good question: "What's a 'Here's Johnny' column?" (I often ask that question, too, as do some readers.) That's when I realized that the viral nature of Facebook meant that dozens of the people whose "Friend" requests I'd approved don't actually read The Sun. Yet. Still, by 2:38 p.m., topic suggestions were streaming in: Donna suggested, "Is your house or business haunted?" (No, but my mind is when I can't find a column topic.) A dead ringer for musician Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins fame proposed "Racial themes in Hollywood movies." (Blake, I just sent off for "Birth of a Nation" and will work forward.) Ferrell offered, "Why is it, with a county with so much history, Woodford County seems to publicly ignore it? Our schools don't reflect famous Woodford Countians. Streets-nope? Statues or even busts of the governors (five!)-nope." Before I had a chance to respond, John M. of Midway, an amateur historian and proud contributor to The Sun, wrote, "Obviously, you haven't read the Midway section of the paper." My plea was hardly an hour old and I'd already instigated a fight between a well-respected journalist and college professor and a Midway City Council member and Sun columnist. Jerry offered, "Boris and Natasha and the Bullwinkle of Washington," adding a smiley face at the end of his post. (I think he's referring to our president and the Russians buddied up to by the men who helped elect our president.) A woman with progressive values in Central Appalachia suggested, "The demonization of women with progressive values in Central Appalachia." Dawn's sentence was punctuated with an emoticon inspired by Edvard Munch's famous and disturbing painting, "The Scream." Earlier I'd felt like screaming, but my friends, real and Facebook alike, were helping rid me of my writer's block-inspired panic with every post. Actually, I still had writer's block, but the column space was slowly filling, and some days, we just have to do the best we can and live with it. Farrell, not knowing of my Tuesday dilemma, accused me of pushing my deadline just as I did in my TV days, but agreed that letting people write my column was a good idea. Another former TV colleague, Leigh, submitted, "Just say no - to couch burning." (I don't think this year's crop of one-and-dones at UK will make it far enough to inspire such vandalism.) Alexandra recommended, "If Louisville and Duke both lost, who will Kentucky fans hate next in the tournament?" (I think the only school with more national championships than UK that the Cats are scheduled to play late Friday night is the answer to that question.) I got a private email from a woman who thought adult dating would be a worthy topic. An email, not an invitation. ("An email, not an invitation" would be a darn good title for a minor chord-drenched song.) I promised Alex that I'd post this column after it's published, to which she (another former TV colleague) replied that she'd be looking forward to that because she missed the "McGary smooth sarcasm." That gave me the opportunity to reflect the slightly kinder, slightly gentler me - the one who tries to use irony rather than the more lethal sarcasm -- and quote one of the greatest songwriters of our time. "I used to be disgusted. Now I try to be amused ..." Then Celery Jones (an artist profiled in the Jan. 12 Sun) wondered if my mother would be a suitable topic. I replied that most of my conversations involving my mother involve a co-pay. And then, 778 words later (counting the headline), I was done, and it was fun. Thank you, Mr. Costello. And thank you, Dear Readers.

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