‘Columns I’ll Never Write’ 2006
Aspen, CO ColoradoI just sat down to write my semiregular “Columns I’ll Never Write” column – the one where I go through the ambitious computer folder marked “Columns To Write This Week” and pull out the stuff that’s been lingering there for months and sometimes years – the ones that I have to admit to myself will never become full-fledged columns – and piece them all together into one glorious theme column. It’s all very behind-the-scenes, I think – kinda like the “DVD extras” version of newspaper columns. A behind-the-scenes look at how the magic happens. Or, in this case, how it doesn’t. Yee haw!Also, doesn’t sharing one’s failures, false starts and overall lack of follow-through make you seem all vulnerable and “real”? People love that stuff, right?Of course, I could just be brutally honest and call it “Aborted Ideas Scrawled While High,” but that’s bad presentation.So …Columns I’ll never write: SHOOTING IN VEGAS: Sure, you can go see “LIVE NUDE GIRLS” in Las Vegas, but did you know you can also shoot a real machine gun in a controlled environment? That’s what the ad says, the one that also offers $5 off your machine gun fun. I was working in Vegas at the time, and thought shooting machine guns with my friends would make for good column fodder. I wrote about half of the column before we even went to the gun place – like the part about how there’s a sign listing things you aren’t allowed to say while spraying the target with your tommy gun – “You dirty rat,” “Eat lead, copper,” and “Say hello to my little friend.”But then somebody got sick and we didn’t go, and, well, I never actually shot a machine gun.WILL NEVER BE WRITTEN BECAUSE: God willing, I will never, ever be in Las Vegas again – and what would be the point of shooting a machine gun anywhere else? CAN’T SIT THROUGH MEETINGS: For more than 10 years my job was to sit in the back of the room in some incredibly long and tedious meetings. I was the AV Guy, so I had to stay both in the room and awake. Now that I’ve stopped being an AV Guy, I find any situation that even hints at being a meeting makes me want to pull out a machine gun (see above noncolumn). I sketched out some thoughtful analogies and parallels to other people in similar situations – people who can’t watch movies because they worked in the movie industry too long, for instance. This gave me about 25 of the 700 necessary words. WILL NEVER BE WRITTEN BECAUSE: Not being able to sit through meetings can hardly be considered a handicap. Or interesting. Next. SITTIN’ ON LEADBELLY’S PORCH: As a result of uncontrollable life circumstances involving time, geography and race, I missed my opportunity to sit on Leadbelly’s porch and have him teach me to play guitar. I can listen to Leadbelly on my iPod while sitting on my own porch, but somehow it just isn’t the same. This meager kernel of an idea has resided on my computer for more than two years, and I have written exactly 10 words on it: “Me learning blues from mp3, like sittin’ on Lead Belly’s porch.”WILL NEVER BE WRITTEN BECAUSE: I thought this was one of those columns that would “write itself.” It “hasn’t.” Next. NO TAXATION WITHOUT SOMETHING THAT FUNNY THAT ENDS IN “-ATION”: In my mid-20s I was caught up in the belief taxation is voluntary, and if you send a letter stating such to the IRS and write something like “UPC 1-507 Under Duress” each time you signed your name to something that were exempt and free, and the IRS couldn’t touch you. If you think that was a confusing sentence, then you’re right. The whole concept, not unlike the tax code itself, was monumentally baffling. I tried hard to research it and get my head around it, but it just made me sleepy. After two years of exciting tax-free living, I decided to just suck it up and render unto Caesar. Luckily, I wasn’t burdened by income during my tax evasion years, so catching up was actually quite cheap.WILL NEVER BE WRITTEN BECAUSE: Ha ha – just joking, Mr. IRS Agent who may be reading this. Ha ha ha …(Next time: To-do list items I’ll never get done.)Barry Smith’s column appears on Mondays.