Here's Johnny - Writer's cramp, Vol. ???
I am writing (no, make that typing - there's a difference) these words in my office on a late spring day, and like most folks, I'd rather be outside. In fact, if I thought it would get my gray matter working, I'd go home and take my laptop outside, hoping the typing would become writing. I see now why the Silver Fox gave up his excellent column. Thinking of new topics each week is sometimes a bit too much like hard work, and those who know me know I sometimes have a dim view of hard work, at least as conducted by myself. However, I know there are legions of Dear Readers who turn first to page two, and if all they see is an empty box, they'll pick up their pitchforks, light their torches, and march towards 184 South Main Street. So . Please hold on for a tick - I've got to take this call. (Fifteen seconds pass.) Rats. I was hoping it was someone with a worthy column topic. I thought of revisiting old rants, like the folks who don't put their shopping carts away at Kroger World and Save A Lot, or people who text while driving, or the whoppers put forth daily in Washington, D.C. I considered passing on tips on how to avoid food poisoning whilst making a breakfast casserole. The best was, "Make sure you throw away old sausage five weeks past the expiration date away before putting the fresh sausage in the refrigerator. Otherwise, you might cook the old stuff and spend the next 12 hours wondering why you were so stupid and debating whether to share your dilemma with Poison Control." I'm fine, by the way. Thank God for preservatives. I wondered whether I could come up with yet another tale from my days in the U.S. Navy, in which we were helpfully informed, early on, that we belonged to the World's Finest Navy. None of these appealed to me, but just now, when I glanced at the bottom left-hand portion of my computer screen, I couldn't help but notice that I was up to 328 words. Halfway there, or nearly so. I don't mean to imply that I consider Here's Johnny a chore. Nine weeks out of 10, it's what I enjoy most, though after a career in journalism in which I kept my opinions to myself, inflicting them on others was a bit of a switch. Most weeks I try to keep it light, and in a pinch, I haul out a tale about The Hatchling - Anna, my 18-year-old daughter who's home from college this weekend. One fellow who couldn't remember her real name told me, "Me and the wife really like those Hatchling stories." I call her The Hatchling because I'm a fan of parrots and other birds, and, by the way, calling someone a "good egg" is high praise in my book. Despite my love for Anna, I will admit to pulling The Hatchling's leg a lot when she was growing up. I tried to instill a good Kentucky accent in her when she was very young, but her mother corrected her every time, most notably after Anna told her the thing on the inside of the back of her shirt was a "tie-yag." My favorite unsuccessful attempt to pull the rug over The Hatchling's eyes was "Giveaway Day." I told Anna that Giveaway Day was a day in which every parent had the option to trade their child for another. Anna was five-years-old or so when I told her the heartwarming story of Giveaway Day, but all I got for that tall tale, and most of the many others to come, was a raised eyebrow. (I suppose I should have called it "Tradeaway Day" - she might have bought that.) Yet I maintain that Giveaway Day was a stroke of genius, in my humble opinion, and a fictional holiday that some parents might well go for. Not The Hatchling's parents. Anna is a gem. This just in - I never get to say that now that I’m not in TV news. Actually, I don’t think I said it then, either, as it’s a horrible cliché. But: Quintuplets mom Brianna Driskell just emailed me to say she'd be free for a quick interview about her first Mother's Day. See? I knew if I kept typing, something good would happened, even if it didn't happen in this column. Thank you for your patience, Dear Reader. I'll be better next week or my name's not John Calvin McGary. Which it is. I think.