If you're one of my regulars, God save you! How may I suck up to you today?
Embarking on a new, albeit part-time, career as a newspaper columnist has always been one of those dreams … that other people have always thought I should have.
COLLEGE GIRLFRIEND: You're a funny writer. You should be the next Dave Barry!
ME: No, I'm going to be the next Hemingway! Listen: "The night was cold. We drank absinthe. A bull gored the matador's buttocks like the Great Cal Ripken Jr. smacking a line drive through the Spanish mountains under the tall trees into the snowy valleys of the lioness's soft bits. We left Piscataway at daybreak."
We broke up. My novel turned into a novella that turned into a short story that is being revised for my upcoming Twitter showdown with Shaquille O'Neal. Eh ... so it goes.
Then there's My Love (that's my wife for those joining the program already in progress):
MY LOVE: I think you'd be a great columnist. You'd be the next Dave Barry.
ME: You know, after Dave Barry became successful he divorced his first wife and got hitched to a cutie sports columnist at his newspaper who was nearly 20 years his junior.
MY LOVE: Dave Barry sucks.
My Love can rest easy. The sports staff at The Advocate is all male. And around my age. And kinda hairy.
Then there's my biggest fan, The Mother of All Uncoolness (uh, that's my mom):
MAU: I told you to take some classes in broadcasting. Such a nice voice and face. You haven't shaved since Tuesday have you?
ME: But, Mom, everyone says I could be the next Dave Barry.
MAU: Dave Barry sucks. Look at that nice Nick Gregory who does the Ch. 5 weather … mmm! Must use a Mach 3 and hot lather.
I did end up working at a newspaper -- The Advocate's hoity-but-less-so-toity sister, Greenwich Time. First, I was a "stringer," which is newspaper talk for one who works cheaply and without medical coverage therefore requiring DIY surgery utilizing packaging twine. I worked my way up to part-time reporter (a stringer on salary, still without medical coverage but now with access to the newspaper's supply of Scotch tape and staples); then full-time reporter (wage slave who lives on free office "coffee"); and, finally, ended as a features reporter/copy editor (wage slave who lays out the horoscope page when not reporting on the latest fad diets).
That ended when My Love got a better job (yea for marrying people with ambition and marketable skills!) and we left Stamford for Texas 11 years ago.
In the Lone Star State, I did PR for a year … for law firms. You can come up with your own similes for that line of work but let me start you off: It was like trying to con Rush Limbaugh into being grand marshal for a "legalize marijuana" parade sponsored by anorexic gay Black Panthers sporting Randall Cunningham jerseys.
Afterward, I managed employee communications for a Fortune 500 company for almost nine years. About five years back, we moved back here, to my hometown, and I telecommuted until I was laid off in 2007.
That's right -- laid off in 2007. This is only fad of which I can lay claim to being an early adopter.
So here I am today, kinda back where I started in so many ways, working in an industry not-quite-dead but extremely cold, clammy and pale.
On Friday the 13th no less!
I think the philosopher Linus Van Pelt said it best:
"What are you talking about?" My Love interjected when I first mentioned this chronological coincidence. "The best thing that has ever happened to you was on a Friday the 13th."
It took a few seconds to register.
She was referring to the day we first met.
You know, maybe I'm going make it after all.
(What? Where's the music video of me tossing my Bridgeport Bluefish cap up in front of the Stamford Town Center? No budget? Pfft -- welcome to my frickin' world.)