Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Censored Column

I wrote this column for the paper last Sunday but the publisher didn't like it. So, I'm posting it here instead.
It is with sadness that I write this last column for The Daily Mountain Eagle. It’s been a good run but as they say, all good things must end. It seems that with the economic downturn, the Buzzard is doing some belt tightening and my column is a victim. So I’m taking this opportunity to say goodbye to all my readers.
As many of you know, I started writing Life 101 in January of 2007. Management at the paper reluctantly agreed to give me a shot and offered me a nominal amount of money to write a weekly column. Since it was my first paying newspaper gig, I jumped at the chance.
But after two years, a new book, and building up a great readership, I decided to ask for a raise.
James Phillips, the “editor” who is just a mouthpiece for “THE MAN” chided me for even thinking about a small raise.
“Times are tough now Uncle Rick,” he snorted. Did I mention that James is my “so called nephew”. “Well, what’s that got to do with the price of eggs in China,” I quipped. I’ve always been fairly good with witty repartee. One thing led to another and I said some unkind things about his linage, which in retrospect was unfortunate since he is kin to me. He countered with cruel remarks about my weight, my grey beard, and the fact that I’m follically challenged. I knew the gig was up when he called my dog, Ol’ Buddy a mangy mutt.
“Get your stuff and get out,” he hissed. After glancing around, I said “I don’t have any stuff here”. “Well here,” he barked, “take these pencils and get out!” So I took the Standard #2 pencils, hung my head and walked out the door.
APRIL FOOL!!!! Since April 1st is Wednesday, I couldn’t resist the chance to play a little prank. If there are those out there who wish this was my last column, please keep it to yourself. If you’re glad it’s not, please write James and tell him to give me a raise.
Apparently, April Fool’s Day has been around for some time. According to Wikipedia: April Fools' Day or All Fools' Day, although not a holiday in its own right, is a notable day celebrated in many countries on April 1. The day is marked by the commission of hoaxes and other practical jokes of varying sophistication on friends, family members, enemies, and neighbors, or sending them on fool's errand, the aim of which is to pull a prank on the unsuspecting.
The origin of April Fools' Day is obscure. One likely theory is that the modern holiday was first celebrated soon after the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar; the term referred to someone still adhering to the Julian Calendar which it replaced. In many pre-Christian cultures, May Day (May 1) was celebrated as the first day of summer, and signaled the start of the spring planting season. An April Fool was someone who did this prematurely.
No matter where it started, April Fool’s Day can be a lot of fun if the pranks don’t go too far. It seems that we have forgotten how to have fun.
With hard times, lawsuits, and “politically correct” initiatives, it’s almost as if fun has become a thing we did in the past.
It’s true we haven’t had a lot to smile about in the last few years, but I believe the pendulum is swinging in the other direction and now it’s time to have some fun!
Happy April Fool’s Day.

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