Barry Smith: These wannabe columns must go!
We’re clearing them out, folks!
We’re going through Barry’s collection of abandoned, unfinished columns and shipping them factory direct to you at discount prices!
The original computer file from Barry’s “Columns to Write” folder is shipped right to your door – you can finish these columns at home, or you can leave them in their natural, incomplete state. We don’t care what you do with them, all we know is that we’re making room for a new shipment of fresh, exciting column ideas, so EVERYTHING MUST GO!
How do we do it? How do we offer these once-promising, full-length columns at such rock-bottom prices?
Volume! Volume! VOLUME!
FILE NAME: more songs that changed my life
SYNOPSIS: A few months earlier I wrote a rather self-explanatory column called “Songs that changed my life.” Afterwards I thought – hey, that was easy, why not do a part two? All I need are a few more songs and some personal, yet universal, reflections on them, right?
TOTAL CONTENTS OF THE FILE AFTER TWO YEARS:
american woman-butthole surfers version
FILE NAME: My own religion
SYNOPSIS: I make up ten funny commandments, throw in some satirical dogma, add a little bit of personal mythology, make a virgin birth innuendo or two, and ta-da: Barryism.
AS FAR AS I GOT: “Thou shalt not not begin any other Commandments with ‘Thou shalt.'”
FILE NAME: Lindbergh’s son
SYNOPSIS: I read that Charles Lindbergh’s son was going to recreate his father’s famous trans-Atlantic flight. I thought I would recreate some of the more outrageous things that MY father did, then write about them in a funny, engaging sort of way.
REASON IT’LL NEVER HAPPEN: The only outrageous thing my father would admit to was ditching school in order to hang out in the parking lot behind a bakery in Cleveland, Mississippi, eating warm bread and butter. That sounded a little too dangerous for me. Plus, there would be travel expenses.
FILE NAME: concordance of ’01 columns
SYNOPSIS: I run every column I wrote last year through this computer program I have called “Concordance.” It gives me back a list of every word I used over the year, along with how many times I used it. I then search out the hilarious trends in my vocabulary pattern and, you know, write about it.
REASON IT’LL NEVER HAPPEN: Couldn’t get the program to work. Also, who cares?
FILE NAME: My motivational speech
SYNOPSIS: It came to my attention that people get paid many thousands of dollars to speak for a few minutes in a motivational manner in front of a room full of people wearing suits. I thought, “I can do that, or, at the very least, I can write about doing that.”
I thought I’d download some bio info on motivational speakers, then use that as a template to write my own, silly motivational speech bio and publish it as a column.
REASON IT’LL NEVER HAPPEN: My first internet search revealed that former Harlem Globetrotter Meadowlark Lemon is now on the motivational speech circuit, so I got a little distracted and ended up visiting lots of Harlem Globetrotter and Meadowlark Lemon sites instead of downloading any actual research information. That was three years ago.
FILE NAME: submitted column topics
SYNOPSIS: I wrote a column asking people to submit topics for future columns, with the assumption that I would get lots of responses and then publish them all as a big, hilariously random list a few weeks later.
In the original column I described the imagined finished product this way: “When I close my eyes, I see pure literary genius, the kind you’ve come to expect from this column, mixed with I-Ching-like higher consciousness synchronicity, the end result being a synthesis of enlightenment and entertainment that borders on the implosive.”
REASON IT’LL NEVER HAPPEN: I only received three responses:
1. “Las Vegas.”
2. “Well, now, I think the obvious topic to write about would be the current county code requiring a 70/30 mix of commercial vs. affordable housing in development proposals, and whether that should be amended to 71/29 or the other way, 69/31, and the social and economic ramifications, while perhaps minute, of going one way or the other.”
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