By DAVID GREEN
This was a record-setting year for By the Way. Never before have I not written this many columns. New columns, that is.
I went backwards 20 years quite often and a couple of times I grabbed something from 30 years back.
What’s the deal, Green? Don’t you have anything new to say?
Well, it seems that way all too often. I guess I’m slowing down in my newspaper work. A 12-page paper is about all I can handle these days. I remember when we always had 16- and 20-page papers and I considered it embarrassing to drop down to 12 pages, even when advertising was really low, like right after Christmas.
A 12-pager has now become normal almost every week of the year, and we still manage to miss our deadline most weeks. But here’s the thing: I still think it’s a pretty good paper most weeks, even at 12 pages.
This week is the year-in-review issue and this year it’s only eight pages. I know, it’s not much, but it’s sort of a vacation issue for me. All three children are home visiting and I didn’t work much—at least not Observer work. I did get some plumbing done, among other chores.
How long am I going to do this Observer thing, anyway? Good question. I have no plans one way or another. I just keep doing it week after week.
I did write an ad to list the paper for sale, but that was two years ago and I still haven’t done anything about it. I don’t know if it would even sell. Newspapers don’t have much value anymore. You know the line: The internet has changed everything.
The ad presents an interesting offer. I’ll help someone do the work. It’s not that I don’t enjoy doing this, but I do get tired of working many nights in addition to every day every week.
Taking off for the weekend for a grandchildren visit makes it all the harder. Disappear for three days and then suddenly make a newspaper? It’s not fun.
I don’t have plans to get that ad out, but it’s going to happen eventually. I can’t keep doing this forever, despite what some people tell me.
I get asked now and then about my health. The answer is mostly a question mark. I don’t know what’s going on inside there.
To recap, there was residual cancer after my prostate was tossed away, so hormone therapy began. More accurately, it’s called androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) or anti-hormone therapy. Two months of radiation were also added to the mix.
Here’s how it works: ADT is used to suppress testosterone production because it feeds the cancer cells. It can’t be used forever because the cancer cells eventually adjust to the lack of testosterone and go their merry way.
So I’m in the middle period of not knowing what’s going on. My quarterly PSA check always indicates that everything is good, but that’s how it should be. When the hormone therapy ends, then I’ll discover what’s really going on. Ask me a year from now.
I have a few friends who are comfortable in making jokes about my hormone therapy. You know, the transgender stuff. I don’t mind.
There are about two dozen possible side effects from hormone therapy and I can claim eight of them. From a growing gut to hot flashes to a more emotional experience, it’s been an interesting adventure. ADT can also lead to more fatigue and that certainly figures into 12-page newspapers.
A few weeks ago someone referred to me as a cancer survivor. I quickly replied that I’m not a survivor; I just haven’t died yet. With my twisted sense of humor, I think that’s hilarious. My best joke of the year, here in our year-in-review issue.
So we’re wrapping up this week’s little review issue, trying to make it not too weird. I knew it would be what I consider a bad paper, but instead it turned into something really bad, or at least really strange.
Next year will arrive all too soon and I vow to turn out a better product than this one. But we have to drive a couple of grandkids north to their other set of grandparents and there’s always just so much to do.
Maybe the next hormone therapy side-effect to hit me will be strange spurts of vigorous enthusiasm to push me through the next year, keeping that ad in my back pocket.