Five years ago, this week, I happened to be in the Medina Journal-Register newspaper office. Back then I was doing a second-rate cartoon strip — as an advertisement for Curvin’s Newsstand — and I’d stopped in to drop it off. While I was there, I ran into the newspaper’s editor, Mike Reagan. (Mike has since left the job.)
Mike, whom I’d never met, asked me if I was there to submit a column. “No,” I told him, surprised, I was there “to give something to Cindy.” (Cindy was — and still is — in charge of the advertising department. Sweet gal, but you didn’t hear that from me.)
Reagan’s question surprised me because he didn’t have a clue as to who I was — I thought maybe he’d mistaken me for someone else. But his follow-up question caught me even more off guard: “Do you want to (submit a column)?”
“I’m not a writer,” I laughed.
“Want to give it a try?”
Weird, wild stuff, huh? Nonetheless, that’s the genesis of this weekly column. I’m sure my lack of training has been obvious to most readers. And, honestly, that’s why I didn’t expect to win the Pulitzer Prize for at least a couple of weeks. Not until after the first few articles went to press and the few days it would take to learn absolutely everything there was to know about the business. But even after then, the award never came. And, frankly, I’m tired of waiting.
Little did I realize that even something as prestigious as the Pulitzer Prize organization could get mired and caught up in the game of dirty politics. But they must have. How else can you explain their overt indifference to “From the Valley?”
But move onward, I will. What have I learned over the past four years? I’ve learned that even though I receive some wonderful e-mails (and encouraging words from people on the street) there are those that don’t always agree with me. The nerve! Some think I should “clean the column up and drop the lewd comments.” More often than not, I understand and respect their points of view.
There are some issues that are more sensitive than others. Even when my approach is obviously tongue-in-cheek, I’m notified when someone thinks I’ve crossed the line. I’ve been chastised for comments ranging from nuns to dogs.
Anyhow, I’ve learned to veer away from such topics — just to be on the safe side.
So, two nuns from a foreign country come by boat to the U.S. to live and work. One nun says to the other, “I’ve heard that here in America, they eat dogs.”
“That’s odd,” Mother Superior says. “But if we’re going to live here in America, we’re going to have to do what the Americans do.”
The other nun agreed and pointing to a hot dog vendor said, “Let’s give it a try.”
Approaching the cart, Mother Superior orders, “Two dogs, please.”
The vendor cheerfully obliges and wraps them both in foil for the nuns to take. They hurry over to a bench and start to unwrap their “dogs.” Mother Superior begins to blush and leans cautiously toward the other nun and whispers awkwardly, “What part did you get?”
Thank you, readers.