from November 25, 2005
I went in to see my editor the other day. We’d been doing the ol’ chinwag for the last coupla months about my future as a columnist for Don Quixote Writes Again. The question was, should I use some of my old material from “The Art of Begging Off,” or should I recycle my best pieces from “Memoirs of a Dead Man”?
“You know,” said Arthur Unknown (ed.), “there’s always a third option.”
“Tell me,” I said, “couldn’t there be a fourth option, or maybe a fifth?”
“Hmm,” he said, “you’ve got a point there.”
“Look,” I said, “I’ve always been interested in language. Fact is, I’ve used it since I was four, maybe five, I have to confess I don’t remember. Maybe, and this is just a thought, I could write a monthly column on language, words, sentences, that kind of a thing.”
“To tell the truth,” he said, “that’s not a bad idea, writing a monthly column on language, words, sentences, that kind of a thing.”
“And, of course, let’s not forget clichés,” I said.
“Hmm,” he said, “now that’s an idea, doing a monthly column dedicated to the lowly cliché.”
“Now that you mention it,” I said, “we forgot to mention paragraphs.”
“Paragraphs,” he said, nodding his Tin Man head as a token of thoughtfulness. “When you stop to think about it, that’s another thing of or pertaining to language.”
“When you stop further to think about it,” I said, “there are also phonemes.”
“To be honest,” he said, “we’ve completely forgotten about chapters.”
“To tell the truth,” I said, “in my book, that’s a horse of an altogether different color.”
“To be perfectly honest,” he said, “I can see that chapters would be out of your league entirely.”
“Frankly,” I said, “I’ve always had trouble just with paragraphs.”
“Oh, yes,” he said, “I can see that, I certainly can.”
“So what you’re leading up to,” I said, “is the idea that I should stick to clichés.”
“When you put it that way, and to be perfectly honest,” he said, “I’m in total and complete agreement with that idea. What say we rename your column ‘The Art of the Cliché’?”
Well, one thing led to another, and Art and I eventually came to an agreement on my remaining on his staff as his leading columnist.
[Ed. note. There wasn’t a damn thing said about the word “leading.”]