By Jim Lee: PNT columnist
This column has appeared on this page for well over two years now. Sometimes it’s serious, and sometimes it’s downright silly. It’s not news reporting or presenting myself as an authority. I ask questions rather than claiming to have incontrovertible answers. I try to be observational, not professorial.
In short, it’s just looking around.
In just looking around, I try to pay attention to the world around me and pass it along in a palatable and sometimes playful way. I let the experts sort out the details and do the in-depth analyses. I just look around me and remark on what I observe.
Right or wrong, I try to be a good communicator, not the guy with all the answers.
Sometimes I try to share a chuckle or prod folks into taking a second look at something. To say what I write here can throw a monkey wrench into some Herculean community effort to promote or prevent something gives me far too much credit.
I’m just a guy — nobody special — just a guy who likes to look around and share the observations and lessons, then learn from the responses.
This column may cause an eyebrow to rise now and then or cause a little laugh to accompany the Sunday morning coffee, but it will be pretty much forgotten by Monday. Just think of me as the neighbor with the near-empty tool box and yard full of dandelions.
On the more serious columns, think of them as beginning with “Have you ever thought about …” or maybe starting with “What do you think of …” Nobody needs to read between the lines.
On the more lighthearted ones, just relax and shake your head and roll your eyes at the silliness like my wife does. I try to be accurate when I present something as a fact, unless I’m obviously putting on the reader with “facts” about some made-up critter or other non-existent whatever-it-may-be. The facts are not that important, other than trying not to present inaccurate ones, because truth is not always handcuffed to facts. Facts are nothing more than bits of information while truth is a song from the soul. Often there is more truth in fiction than so-called non-fiction.
Now there’s something to think about. After all, which is more inspirational: a hymn or a factually perfect stock market report, and which has more truth?
When I wrote on replacing our car battery not too long ago it didn’t make me an expert on lead-acid batteries or customer service, but I could certainly observe what happened to the old battery and what went on when I had to replace it. I don’t know how to run an auto supply retail establishment, but I do know how I’m treated. I don’t know what anybody does with those old, worn-out batteries, but I do know I have to turn in the old one when I get the new one.
All I do is look around, pay attention, and write about what I perceive as an individual. Then, if I do it correctly, folks can relate to the topic of the week and how I treat it.
That doesn’t make me an expert about anything. Nor should anybody expect me to be an expert about something just because I’m able to observe it and pass along how I relate to what I see, hear, smell, touch, or taste.
This applies to whatever happens to be going on in the community. I don’t have to march down the street with a banner or sing protest songs to observe what’s going on and my individual reaction to it. I don’t have to understand something to observe it.
So go ahead and disagree with me and call me ignorant. Why not? After all, I’m no big deal. I’m your neighbor who happens to be just lookin’ around.
Jim Lee is news director for KENW-FM radio. He also is an English instructor. He can be contacted at 359-2204. His e-mail: