Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Natural

The Natural
By Allison Adams 07-08-12 / Submitted to The Greeneville Sun on 07-08-12

This is a documentary.

I thought you may or may not be interested to know how I write one of these columns.

Usually, like tonight, I wait until the eleventh hour of my deadline, which is set by my editors (plural) – it takes a village, apparently – and I hope that they’ve been extremely busy with several big news stories and don’t realize that I haven’t yet submitted my column for review on a more timely basis.

Then I gather any column topic ideas that I have either emailed myself, left myself a voicemail about, or written in chicken scratch on the back of a Pal’s receipt or on my dry cleaning ticket, and shoved in the cup holder of my car.

Next I sit down at my desk, fire up my computer, and wait for a light bulb to illuminate above my gray haired head.

This is about the time that my husband appears to “help” me. 

Take tonight, for example.

My beloved wandered in and saw me sitting in front of the computer, staring at a blank screen, and casually parked himself behind my desk chair, and peered over my right shoulder.

Him:  So … what are you doing there?

Me:  I’m trying to write a column.

Him:  Oh! Wow!  Is it that time again?

Me:  Yes.  Yes, it is.

Him:  Great!  Well, what’s this one going to be about?

Me:  I don’t know yet. 

Him:  Really?  THAT must be a little scary – the not knowing, I mean.

Me:  Yes, it is.  Do you mind, dear?  I work better without someone hovering over my shoulder.

Him:  Oh – right, right, right.  Sorry. I’ll leave you alone.

Me:  Thank you.

Him:  Are you sure you don’t know what you’re going to write about, or are you just telling me that to get me to leave.

Me:  But, you’re still here.

Him:  Right.  Well, I just thought that surely you must have some ideas – don’t you?

Me:  Unfortunately, no – and this column is due in three hours, so I’m getting a little – um – edgy.

Him:  Oh, right.  Right.  Okay then, I’ll just leave you alone.

Me:  Thank you.

Him:  Do you need anything – maybe a glass of water, or a bowl of ice cream?

Me:  I need a little privacy, please.

Him: Oh, sure.  Right, right, right.  I’ll just go in there, then, and leave you be.

Me:  That’d be great.

Him:  I’ll just be in the next room if you need me.

Me:  Perfect.

Him:  You’re not going to write about me leaving the garbage cans at the curb for five days in-a-row, are you?

Me:  No.  I already wrote about that.

Him: Oh, right.

Me:  You’re still here.

Him:  Yes, sorry.  I just want to make sure you’re not going to write about the way I control the TV clicker every weekend.  You’re not, are you?  I just wondered if you planned on writing about that.

Me:  Already did – several years ago.  The goal is to write about something different every time.

Him: Oh, sure.  Right.

Me:  I love you, but you’re loitering.

Him:  I’ll leave you alone now.

Me:   Thank you.

Him:  You’re welcome.

Several more moments pass and neither of us moves a muscle.

Me:  I can feel you staring over my shoulder. 

Him:  Right.  Well, I was just hoping that you wouldn’t write about me again for a while – you know?     Can you leave me off your list of column topics for a few months? 

Me:  But you’re an unending source of fodder.

Him:   I think you already wrote about that.

Me:  Oh, right.  Right, right, right.  Thanks for reminding me.

Him:  I’m here to help.  I’m very helpful.  Hey – you could write about that!

Me:  Great idea!  I promise to paint you in a positive light.

Him:  Oh, good!  I’ll leave you alone now.

Me:  Thank you.

Him:  No problem.  Just trying to help.  It’s just my nature – helpfulness.

Then I type it all up, like this, and email it to the newspaper. 

It’s a complicated process.

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