Once upon a time, I was paid actual money to write a weekly newspaper column. It was for a small newspaper in my hometown. It was a humor column.
For no reason than sheer nostalgia, I went back to read a few of my old tomes recently. I found this one to be quite entertaining.
For the record, this was written in 1999 after the local hospital downsized my mother out of a job. I went looking for a clever way to call them names in the local paper.
What not to write in your weekly column
April 30, 1999 — Each week about this time I sit down to write my weekly newspaper column, which is read by six people, and I try to decipher what topic I should expound my considerable knowledge upon this week. Most often, I just chuck the considerable knowledge idea and think of ways to write about burps and other bodily functions as to thoroughly embarrass my mother, who knows all six of my readers.
Normally, the first thing which comes to mind while I’m sifting through the possibilities of topics is, “Well, I’d better not write about this or that because I could get sued or shot or at least yelled at by any number of my family members who are sorry they know me on a weekly basis.”
This time, I figured I’d just tell you about all the topics I ignore and why.
First, you must never write a newspaper column about abortion, gun control or the tobacco industry. Doing so makes you a political activist and undermines the respect and integrity your readers have for your uncanny ability to work the word “bonnet” into a piece of prose. These topics also transform normally decent, peace-loving citizens into gun-wielding author-hating vermin who would take up arms to protest everyone’s right to take up arms.
Writing about the tobacco industry isn’t that big of a deal in most states, but when your column is read by six people from Kentucky, you’d better just hold your breath, smile and let them die of lung cancer.
You must also never write about the Catholic church — especially if you are marrying a woman who happens to be a member. In a recent column, never published for fear of excommunication and Mafia involvement, I referred to the fact I didn’t want…