L ife isn’t just one big bowl of cherries for a small town newspaper columnist. Some weeks it just doesn’t pay to hand in your copy. This week could be one of those weeks.
Someone once told me to write about what you know and it’ll be easy. Writing about what I know leaves me at a distinct disadvantage because I know so little. The little I do know always seems debatable somehow.
When good topics are fleeting, the temptation is to write about something I should know all there is to know about — my family. The only one in my family who hasn’t disputed the facts of one of my columns is my youngest dog. I think it’s because he doesn’t understand all the fancy words I use and so doesn’t regularly read me.
My family accuses me of embellishing my stories. Strangely enough they only seem to remember things differently if the story either portrays them in a bad light or it portrays me basking too much in a heavenly glow.
My family regularly threatens me if I even act like I’m going to put them in my column. Then they’re just as often disappointed when they check the paper and they’re not in there.
One particular family member actually issued a threat if I used their name when talking about their prowess in capturing and killing mice with just a pair of pliers. I can’t even imagine the skill it must take to catch a mouse in the jaws of a pair of slip-joints. This person says it is more of a mind game and takes patience, maybe even thinking like a mouse to some degree.
Imagine the celebrity this person would enjoy if they would just allow the use of their name in connection with my new title for them — “Mouse Whisperer.” But alas, I wouldn’t want to further my reputation as an embellisher.
My wife and my mother, because they frequently make my column, have become faithful readers. Neither of them wants to arrive at church on Sunday without having read my morning missive.
My wife reads it out of my email box after I send it into the paper and my mother gets up early enough to read my column in print, even if she doesn’t have time to read anything else.
Just because I’ve disclosed wardrobe malfunctions in church and hollering abilities at Little League games is no reason that the two most important women in my life should distrust me so or tell me I like to embellish.
A few years back my wife bought me a T-shirt that says “Careful, or you’ll end up in my novel.” That shirt says it all for me.
If you’re plagued with diarrhea of the mouth around me you could become several chapters of my novel or even a main character.
Don’t shoot me, I’m just the storyteller.