Thursday, October 11, 2012


There's probably nothing that perturbs me more professionally than when someone insists I should do a big expose article on some scandal.

Mainly because anyone thinking I'd be interested in relating such a thing has obviously never actually read any of my stuff.

Political discord? School administration salaries? Governmental shenanigans? Drugs in the water? Sure, there's plenty there you can probably get steamed over. But that's not my thing -- I see my role as the opposite of the conveyor of the bad news. I want to bring to light the good news as much as possible instead.

There's certainly enough people who excel at reporting the bad news ... the world doesn't need me to do that.

It isn't always easy to be on this mission. Sometimes when I'm looking for stories while laying out the wire service pages in the paper there isn't a lot offered by the Associated Press with anything good to say. Often I have to come up with five or six different ways to say someone is dead just so all of the headlines on a single page have varied terminology if not a varied theme. Many of the pages lately have made me queasy with the abundance of vile news, and if you think the news that is printed is bad, you should read the stuff we don't put in because of our all-ages audience.

Obviously, it is the bad news that attracts people to read any paper. If there's a huge calamity I expect my stuff to be bumped for the hotter news, because I would make that decision to ax my stuff as well. Sales increase when there's a major disaster, and again I'm just as guilty because that's when I'm also more interested in reading the paper, too. It's like driving by the scene of a car crash -- you can't help but look. You probably aren't glad the crash happened, but at the same time find it oddly intriguing. Likewise, if you are reading a novel there's got to be some kind of a conflict or it will be pretty boring.

Luckily, the majority of our local stories are usually good news about good people. But once we get into the wire service accounts of the goings-on in New York City, Washington, and overseas that ratio is invariably skewed towards evil.

So in an effort to compensate for all of that bad news, I strive to relate the good news. That's what I perceive to be my role in the world.

It doesn't matter what you do, whether you write, build bridges, teach school, wait tables, or crunch numbers ... taking some time to define your own role is a great organizer and a great motivator to your own endeavors. Give it a try!

Sunday, October 7, 2012


So I'm walking down the street yesterday not too far away from my new apartment, when my buddy stops his lawn mowing to strike up a conversation. We chit-chat for a couple of minutes and he asks how I like my new "bachelor pad," and I tell him it's fine. Then he gets all serious, and tells me how many people envy my freedom in being single -- and from his tone I'm thinking he might be near the top of the list himself.

I admitted that certainly there are moments when I might wish I had a significant other, but it doesn't take too long to look around and realize just how miserable many of the couples I know are in their lives. And if that alone doesn't make me feel better, I can always read the Annie's Mailbox column in the paper, because it is riddled with unhappy people who are battling spouses, ex-spouses, and in-laws.

Somebody I know just announced he was getting married -- for the third time. I think that after I touched that hot griddle and burned myself once, it was enough to discourage me from doing it ever again. Another friend spent most of the night last night waiting for her hubby to come home. That's not something I feel shows much self-respect, or respect for a spouse from the absent husband. I was at a small board meeting recently where all of us knew each other pretty well, and suddenly one of my compadres noted aloud how every one of the four of us around the table was divorced. The man and woman there who live together agreed they were never going to marry, because what was the point?

It seems marriage has become more a business for attorneys than a loving institution in this day and age. Living together without being married can actually be more of a sign of love because they are doing it because they want to, rather than because that wedding ring obligates it.

Sure, it would be great to be in love with a soul mate. But I'm sure not going to cry away the days looking for one. Plus hopefully I'm setting a good example for my daughters, showing them that they don't need a husband to complete them ... they just need to grow into the best people they can be first and to worry about becoming a couple second.

If it's meant to be, that's great. If it's not, then that's the way it's meant to be instead.