2006.11.01 The 45-minute column

Written by David Green.

By JEFF PICKELL

About one in every four of the columns I write doesn’t turn out to be for popular consumption. In such cases, I usually panic because it takes me a good eight or nine days to brainstorm for my next column. Right now, I’m in a panic.

It’s 11:16 a.m. Saturday morning, and I definitely want to have my column written before Monday, but after five aborted starts, it appears that someone found the writer’s block I’d hidden in the basement and clocked me with it during last night’s slumber.

I’m scheduled to hit up the Western Michigan University football game this afternoon, so I’m trying something new—the 45-minute column. For the next 45—well, 39—minutes, I’m going to type whatever rattles its way into my head. We’ll see how that works.

All right. Let’s get things started.

My friend Allison dressed as a noun for Halloween. She wore a shirt with “noun” printed on the front and back. She’s involved in plays and stuff, so she can get away with artsy fartsy “statement” costumes like that. Too boot, she looks intelligent.

In high school, no less than three girls told me they thought I had a mental disability when they saw me walking down the hall. That’s probably because I tend to let my mouth hang open. I also stare at my feet when I walk. And when I stand.

So, I probably couldn’t pull off “noun,” but I think “cheeseburger” or “Sylvester the Cat”  could be a hit.

Speaking of cheeseburgers, I like to rile my friends at the Morenci Pub when I order takeout.

“I’d like one hamburger with cheese,” I say.

“You mean a cheeseburger?” they usually reply.

“Is that what they call them where you come from?” I ask.

I have 24 minutes left. How about those Tigers?

Ah! I just took a phone call about an ad update! Eighteen minutes left and I’m not even halfway done!

I’m such a poor fair weather fan that I’m not even a bad weather fair weather fan. By that I mean that I had every intention of walking across the street to watch the Friday night game at the pub, but a look out the window into the gloomy, rainy night erased the possibility of that ever happening.

By 8 p.m. I was robe- and slipper-bound and rooted for the night in my bed, playing “Trauma Center: Under the Knife” on my Nintendo DS.

At some point, I noticed that I had left the kitchen light on and got angry at myself.

I have eight minutes left. Things are looking pretty bleak.

Since I moved here, I’ve really cut down on my personal energy use. In fact, my friend Amanda calls me the energy Nazi because I insist she turn off her computer monitor—and all the house lights—before she leaves home.

She maintains that she can waste her money anyway she pleases. I insist that I can save her money anyway I please, and turn the electric devices off myself.

Five minutes left. Ah, my nose has started running. Great, another distraction.

You should know that for every word I write, I erase about 10. If I erased no words, this column would be about 8 pages long and include things like “What’s the big deal with iPods? Doesn’t anyone whistle anymore?”

That’s when I remember that at least an eighth of my readership of eight consists of iPod owners, and it’s not a good policy to alienate your fans—or, in my case, the people who don’t hate me. Yet. I also remember that I can’t whistle.

It’s 11:59. Will I make it? WILL. I. MAKE. IT?

No. It’s noon. Shucks.

The Observer office is now officially closed and I guess I’m off the hook for the weekend. But, I can’t just abandon a column that’s supposed to represent my stream of consciousness, can I?

Well, I can, but it would be intellectually dishonest. Besides, if I disembarked for Kalamazoo right now, I’d have to listen to the entire hour of “Wait, Wait. Don’t Tell Me,” aka “BOOOOORING” on NPR. If I wait an hour, I can get a good start to my journey with “This American Life,” which is my favorite radio show.

It’s 12:05 now, and as I edge ever closer to my 4,250-character column limit, I’m beginning to think that this was a pretty good one-time exercise. There were a lot of little snippets in here that I’d always wanted to write about, but never got the chance.

Well, I’ve reached the character limit, and it’s time to jet on out of here. This is Jeff Pickell, signing off. It’s 12:11.

    - Nov. 1, 2006 
  • Front.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.

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