Snoring is just one sign of a seasoned journalist

Good morning and welcome to my first post-turning-47 Sunday Flashback! The fact that I’m even able to say “post-turning-47 Sunday Flashback” proves that 1) I am still quite dexterous, at least verbally, and 2) there wasn’t nearly enough tequila involved on my birthday. But one thing I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is that you don’t need a lot of alcohol to have a good time. In fact, I can experience that same lack of inhibition and disorientation just by getting up from the couch too fast, or having a Red Bull with my Twinkie. Speaking of being disoriented, I believe it’s time we get to this week’s Flashback. As always it comes from long ago, back when I thought “Freshly Pressed” was a website for people with a fetish for naked dry cleaners; back when my only followers were WordPress sites I opened for my pets; back when the only comments I got were things like “Back to work, Hickson!” and “Honey, can you grab some milk on the way home?” Some of you may recognize the photo, which is from my “About” page. And yes, we do have flies that big in Oregon…

What may appear as sleeping to the untrained eye is actually the complex routine of a seasoned journalist focused on a Pulitzer … or possibly a Putziler.
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 Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.

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, such as…

oh, I don’t know…

How about 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.

I know.

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.

(Ned is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. You can write to him at nhickson@thesiuslawnews.com, or at Siuslaw News, P.O. Box 10, Florence, OR 97439)

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

58 thoughts on “Snoring is just one sign of a seasoned journalist”

  1. Fantastic Ned, laughed my socks off at the image of you taking on the giant fly – are they seriously that big? Are all your insects of giant proportions? Think I’ll stay here in the land of ‘so that brief minor heat wave 3 weeks ago was summer?’

    1. I don’t know why the flies are so big here. Maybe because we get so much rain, they have evolved to withstand the droplets? Or maybe they live in Texas and vacation here in the summer?

      It’s seems to be just the flies that are big, though. Otherwise

            1. Yeah, tot to watch for the horny toads; there are a lot who act like a prince until their warts are exposed. I have a feeling you can spot those pretty easily 😉

  2. You get worse, Ned … but in a good way.*snortle*

    (snortle: def: a cross between a snort and a chortle – not to be confused with a snottle which is something altogether different and possibly not very hygienic).

  3. Out where I live, the giant horse flies (larger than the regular kind) are called B-52’s. Largely because they seem to have resting wingspans of nearly two inches. Or maybe that’s a hallucination based on fear…

    Great and entertaining post. 🙂

  4. Hee-hee, this made me laugh out loud. Once, when I was working in the tropics, a cockroach (which was nearly the size of my hand) freaked out and flew into my hair. I screamed and ran into the bathroom, thus freaking out my friend who was in the middle of a shower. She was all compassion once she realised what had happened, while I stood there jibbering like a fool. Flies can be pretty aggressive. Roaches just panic and run/fly towards you. Yech.

    1. I don’t blame you for freaking out. Although, depending on how active your friend’s imagination is, I can only imagine what must’ve been going through her head in the shower. (“Psycho” comes to mibnd for example).

      Fly. Cockroach. Neither belong in the office or bathroom. Or on this planet, for that matter… 😉

                1. Lol! We just started following each other a couple of weeks ago. Love the stuff there. I’ll definitely check out the link! And speaking of fairytales, I don’t know if you follow The Grimm Report (headline news featuring fairytale characters), but I have a guest post on there this morning.
                  http://grimmreport.com/2013/08/20/steroid-investigation-expanded-to-include-john-henry/

                  It’s a really fun site 🙂

                  Ech… I have the bad after taste of self promotion in my mouth. I could use a good cleansing… 😉

                2. Haha….I saw that post earlier. I’ll be sure to check it out more often. I am just finishing my relatively morbid piece loosely based on the Princess and the Pea.

                  I’ll give you a moment to cleanse. 😉

                3. Sounds good. And let me know when you post your piece! A morbid spin on The Princess and the Pea? Sounds intriguing 😉

                  Off to cleans… 😉

                4. It would be a privilege 😉

                  But remember I’m weird to begin with, so I may not offer the most objective perspective (although I can obviously rhyme like a white rapper…)

                5. Ahhhh… I wrote it about 15 years ago and was that close *holding index and thumb a millimeter apart* to selling it to a major publishing company with the help of an agent. Then the market tanked and, without a “name” at the time, they balked. I’ve been sitting on it ever since. Well, laying actually; it’s under the bed. But I still believe in it. In a year or so, I plan to pull the manuscript out again and see what I can do with it now that I have built a little more momentum.

                6. Dust it off…..I’d love to read it when it gets published!

                  Here is my email address so you can reply and I’ll send you the warped story. carpedm at muskoka.com (for some reason it won’t let me use the @ symbol in the address)

                7. Definitely part of the plan 😉

                  I’m looking forward to reading your warpedness! I’m on deadline today, so I may not be able to read it until later this evening or tomorrow. I hope that’s ok?

                  Enjoy the day, Susan!

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