Every journalist has a routine. For example, I always write my column early in the morning. The earlier the better. That’s because, generally speaking, I’m not awake yet. Sure, I may be drinking coffee and typing, but if you were to monitor my brain activity, it would register somewhere between an earthworm and the average American watching Jersey Shore.
Admittedly, my brain doesn’t open for business until about 10 a.m. By then, I’ve been at the keyboard for three or four hours with no real memory of what I’ve been writing. I assure my editor this unique quirk is the sign of a seasoned professional.
And she assures me the reason we need to keep replacing my keyboard is because, at least once a month, she finds me face down drooling on the return key. That may be true, but I tend to do my best work under pressure. And there’s nothing like the pressure of trying to finish a column before saliva short-circuits your keyboard.
In addition to a lack of cognizance, I also prefer writing early in the morning because there aren’t any distractions, like… oh, I don’t know… say, being blinded by a crazed fly.
The truth is, this column was going to be a stunning piece of social commentary. I had planned to utilize all the tools I’ve acquired as a columnist (namely, spell-check and the “delete” button, assuming it hasn’t been drooled on) to discuss a little-known but steadily growing segment of the voting population:
Chihuahuas who have mistakenly been issued voter registration cards in Florida.
Anyone who has written Pulitzer Prize-winning material will tell you it takes an incredible amount of concentration and skill to produce work of such significance.
As a recipient of the Putziler Prize for “Most Consistent Use of Spelling Errors” in 2009, I was, quite literally, only a few scrambled letters away from a Pulitzer myself. In keeping with that standard, I should’ve been able to finish my Chihuahua column in spite of being the unwitting target of a psychopathic fly. I have no excuse other than to say, before this experience, I would’ve never considered sealing up my cubicle and installing an air-lock door complete with retinal scanner and emergency fly swatter.
It actually started out like any other annoying man-vs-fly situation.
Fly lands on hand.
Hand shoos fly away.
Then, and without warning:
Fly attacks eyeball.
Things immediately moved into the realm of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, complete with — I must admit — screaming that would’ve frightened Janet Leigh. In all fairness, I now had only ONE good eye, which limited my peripheral vision and put me at a distinct disadvantage to the fly which, as we all know, has enough eyes to see in all directions at once, including behind, which is the direction I happened to be running from.
Yes, I probably should’ve stood my ground.
And if it hadn’t blinded my other eye, I probably would have. However, as I stood there swinging blindly at the fly with a rolled up magazine, I realized two important things precisely in this order:
1) I looked like a Star Wars fanatic pretending to be in Jedi training, and;
2) Someone could walk through the door at any minute.
Because of this, the Pulitzer Prize committee will have to wait. In the meantime, I still have a chance at another Putziler, depending on how I spelled Chihuahua.
(You can write to Ned Hickson at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at the Siuslaw News at P.O. Box 10, Florence, and OR. 97439)