Smell the Coffee: 50 secrets, more or less, mostly less
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- For the past year or two, "Reader's Digest" magazine has had a recurring feature called 50 Secrets Your [some profession] Won't Tell You. Last month it was Your Company's HR Person. A few months earlier, it was Your Airline Pilot.
My husband looked at the cover of the May issue. Cute picture of a chubby puppy next to the words "50 Secrets Your Vet Won't Tell You." Geoff opened to the index, found the article, then flipped to the page and looked disappointed.
"What's wrong?" I asked.
"If it's really 50 secrets your vet won't tell you," he said, "then shouldn't the pages be blank?"
I thought about the brainstorming sessions that likely precede each article, where professions are suggested and rejected in rapid fashion.
"How about 50 Secrets Your Taxidermist ... "
"Your Restaurant Kitchen Staff?"
"We'd rather not know."
Since it's doubtful they'll ever get around to Newspaper Columnists, I figured I'd go ahead and spill some secrets myself.
1. Writing can be a lonely business. If you liked something you read or have an idea for something that might make a good story, email the writer and let them know. It will be greatly appreciated.
2. In spite of being a writer, we seldom know what to write in greeting cards. If someone is standing and waiting for us to write, some of us can barely manage our name.
3. Many of us aren't quick-witted in person.
4. We will often agree to do ridiculous things simply because there's a chance it might make for good column material. The Brownie Troop I once took on after the leader resigned -- we may not have earned a single badge over the rest of the year, but I got three columns out of it.
One of our cats was chosen over the rest because he was hanging like a bat from the roof of a cage, a sure sign he'd provide years of fodder. The same can be said for when I met Geoff. Hanging like a bat from the roof of his cage.
Come to think of it, the reason "Reader's Digest" will likely never do an article about a Columnist's Secrets is because most of us don't have any left. Deadline desperation has prompted most of us to bare every boil and contemplate every cuticle.
In our weekly determination to fill up this space, we tell you things that perhaps we shouldn't. And sometimes we probably tell you things you'd rather not hear.
Which, to the folks at "Reader's Digest," probably has columnists in the same category as taxidermists.
Reach Karin Fuller at firstname.lastname@example.org.