BLOG - Writing columns is great fun. If not, I would not have embarked on entering a world of egotistical, self-indulgent and self-opinionated writers. Because, other than the fun part, it’s a road strewn with counter attacks often coming close to verbal abuse from readers not tuned to your brand of humour, politics, religion and other philosophies. And these are the subjects on which columnists thrive.
And survive. Good writers are paid well as they engender simulative debate and strong reaction from their readers – the life blood of successful newspapers.
However, having said all that, I have a confession to make. I’m not a columnist in the true sense of the word. (But the bright folk among you would’ve noticed that by now). Let’s say, I evolved during my sub-editor days when the editor called for say, 400 words, to fill a page.
For some or other reason, I always managed to come up with the perfect count. So, I’m a “space-filler” – a far cry from the real thing.
This reaction from a reader puts it into perspective.
“Cliff, I find your column very useful”. WOW, I think, at last, recognition.
“I cut out the page on which your column appears”. WOW, again. She’s going to file it for future reference. “Then I fold it neatly, with your face appearing on the top”.
It’s now more than WOW. She likes my mug.
“Then I place same at the bottom of my parrot’s cage under his perch. Then it’s easy to remove the mess – and Gerald can mess, I tell you. Please keep up the good work”. Signed, Ezmerelda.
There you have it, a space-filler who’s useful and sort after to prevent acidic bird poo from ruining bird cages. And a mug that acts as an effective purgative. Not many writers possess these rare qualities.
There is further proof that I‘m not a true blue. I’m no egotist, and am neither self-indulgent nor self-opinionated. In fact, I’m a humble soul. And I accept that my pay packet is in keeping with the job.
I promise the Ezmereldas I’ll keep them in paper for as long as the editor requires my services. Fortunately for me, he cares for his readers, so I should be around a little longer.
But should my mug not appear one day, you’ll know the game’s over. For Gerald’s sake, I hope the new mug does the job.