Thoughts Going into the Final Stretch

I'm reaching the end of my two-year run as a Community Columnist. There will be two more columns coming. Next week's about teachers is one of the samples I sent in originally to get this job so those of you who wonder how I snowed the editors can see what they got to judge. (Another sample column was my very first one because I was lazy and didn't want to write three columns AND a bio so I just wrote an introductory column). The last was inspired by Steve Eulberg (who also asked why I now believe in a soul). Upon completion, I realized it was an excellent final column, so that's where it goes.

There are a few columns I didn't submit. I generally wrote 3 or 4 columns every two weeks so 1) I'd have a backlog in case of vacation or lack of ideas and 2) I could choose the best column (or at least the lesser of two drivels). Often, the words weren't exactly what I wanted to write. But occasionally, good columns were superseded by more timely ones.

My favorite unprinted one was about choosing whether or not to become a Baha'i. After writing it, I'd decided, then sent in other essays about current events and soon joined the Faith, making the column moot. But it's on my web site at for anyone who's interested.

Connecting with the Baha'i Faith was the best thing about writing every Tuesday. The very first letter I received after starting the column was from Sharon Firooz inviting me over to meet some Baha'is. But I've also heard from many other interesting people, and surprisingly enough, most of the letters, e-mails, phone calls, and conversations were positive. I was expecting a lot more vitriol, but despite the headlines and talk shows, most people are intelligent, interested, and understanding.

The people who only talked to me in hopes I'd publicize their ideas or accomplishments will probably quit talking to me now. But their loss will be unnoticed as all the friends, neighbors, and coworkers who avoided me for fear I'd mention them in the paper will begin speaking to me again.

My predictive skill was about as good as Jeanne Dixon's (about the same as random chance; she just parlayed her forecast of JFK's assassination into a career). There are still rocks along Spring Creek no matter how many boys throw them into the stream. The bypass didn't go along Douglas Road (or anywhere else). It remains to be seen whether the economy turns down in October as cruise ships, airlines, and hotels discover the majority of middle class worker bees aren't booking Christmas vacations because their Y2K-panicked bosses won't let anyone have time off.

Although I've enjoyed spewing opinions and spouting ideas, the main reason I took this job was to improve my writing. Not that that necessarily happened, but I assume you get better at whatever you practice, whether it's a musical instrument, meditation, or even a personal attitude like complaining, paranoia, or love for humanity. Now I'm looking forward to working on longer writings for other markets.

When I first started this column, I'd just received my bachelor's degree. Now after a two year hiatus from classes, I miss college and am trying to decide whether I want to start back for a masters degree or save my free time for volunteering at the elementary school. However, I've found that the busier I am, the more I get done because I don't wait to find time, but instead fit tasks into the interstices found throughout the day. So I'll probably do both.

In closing, I'd like to thank the editors of the Coloradoan for giving me the opportunity to write and thank all y'all readers for reading me, or at least thanks for not canceling your subscription in disgust.