The Extraordinary Discipline of a Serious Columnist

I've been, um, a little bit occupied with the lake and the beautiful weather the past few weeks, and the new column isn't quite ready. To tide you over, here's a vintage piece along those lines...

You know, I’ll bet writing a column like this one probably looks like a pretty easy job. All you have to do is ramble on for a while about whatever you think needs rambling on about, crank out some jokes, and check it over to make sure that at least most of what you’ve written is English. Then you just pack your masterpiece off to the syndicate and bathe in the deep satisfaction of a job well done.

Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s not always that easy. Like right now - the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and one of my friends just called me from his ski boat to see if I could come out to play. Of course, being the disciplined professional that I am…

Ok I’m back. I think I may have slightly strained a hamstring on that last set on the jump skis, so it actually feels kind of good to sit here at the computer and get my work done. After all, I have responsibilities. I simply have to ignore distractions like this other friend who just called me from his new boat to help him see if the racing engine he had installed will let us go faster than 90 MPH…

In the Middle of the Mall

Not too long ago I tagged along with a friend to visit the Apple Store. I wanted to get a peek at the latest iPad model, which as we all know represents the future of human communication. The new one comes complete with Bluetooth, WiFi, 4G connectivity, a video camera, a GPS navigational system, and an ice cube maker.

When you’re in the Apple Store you can tell it’s the Future, because everything is really, really white - especially the people who work there, who have clearly not seen any sort of sunlight since the first Bush administration.

On the way to the Apple Store we had to pass through the Mall, where the Future happens to be located. I have not been in any sort of Mall for quite a few years, since I only buy clothes in odd-numbered decades, and then only from the Salvation Army Fashion Superstore, so I was in for a few surprises.

Apparently at some point since my last Mall visit, the people who decide how to best serve  the Mall-Visiting Public came to the conclusion that our overall shopping experience would be better if we just had tribes of Visigoth marauders posted at strategic locations throughout the central concourse and pillaging passing shoppers. These barbarian encampments are called “Kiosks.”

The Gospel According to Miller Lite

Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.
- Benjamin Franklin

There are only three things you really need to tackle any home improvement project - a hammer, a friend who knows which end of it to hang on to, and a six pack.
- Me

From time to time in this column, I have mentioned the word, “beer.” The context is usually something like, “The engineering summit consisted of us examining the baffling pile of what we assumed were the parts we were going to need, grunting at each other, and gesturing with our beer bottles.”

In response to this, I sometimes hear from readers with comments like, “We really enjoy your column, and think that you are the funniest person who ever lived, but it seems like you drink an awful lot of beer. We have children, you know.”

OK, aside from the “funniest person who ever lived” part, this confuses me. First, like most guys, I can’t see how anyone could consider “a lot of beer” to be in any way “awful.” Second, I am just mentioning beer in my column, not actually swilling it on a public street corner with my pants around my ankles, shuffling in circles and singing, “Polly Wolly Doodle.”


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