Ah, spring. That time of year when, emboldened by the longer days and by the blessed warming of the air, I come here to tell you that I’ve got big, fat nothing to write about. 

I’m sorry, bros. It happens every year around this time. My brain, dulled and hazy with the lingering mists of winter, refuses to get out of bed in the morning, and so I just sit here staring dumbly at the computer screen and drooling on the keyboard. 

It happens to all guys at a certain age. 

Back in the day, I would just turn to my many, many, many half-filled notebooks to help. Among those pages would be many a curious and tantalizing scribble upon which I could base a full and completely readable column, provided said readers were drunk. 

These days, I don’t use notebooks so much so I have to turn to Facebook for deliverance. And by deliverance, I mean begging you good people for column ideas. 

You good people were great right off the bat. 

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“I am a recent transplant from Oregon,” wrote a nice lass named Melanie. “After being here for eight months, I still don’t know the ropes. Perhaps a guide for newbies like me? Best restaurants, best activities for singles of a certain age … etc. And, how about a column on the Bates Mill, past, present, and future? That place fascinates me. Or maybe abandoned historic buildings? Or UFO sightings in this area? Or the top 10 inns within a certain mileage radius? 

Or me? I am interesting as heck.” 

Nice to meet, you, Melanie. Clearly you’re new around here because you assume I know things. Best restaurants? How would I know, I don’t eat. 

Activities for singles? Well, I got some suggestions, but my editors won’t let me print them, the prudes. 

Bates Mill? All I know about that is that the complex was once used for CIA MKUltra mind-control experiments back in the day and as a result, half the population of Lewiston can read your mind. 

Be careful with that knowledge, Melanie. We — That is to say, THEY — know what you’re thinking. 

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Top 10 inns? Are you serious? Do I look like an inn person to you? I’m a Motel 6 kind of guy on my best day and a back-seat-of-my-truck kind of guy the rest of the time. 

Top 10 inns … It is to laugh! I suppose next you’ll ask me for tips on interior decorating or hairstyles. Look at me, Melanie! Look at my hair! Can’t you see that I’m basically a know-nothing vagabond who somehow tricked a newspaper into hiring me? 

I’m sorry for the shouting. I know you didn’t mean any insult. I know this because I can read your mind. 

Melanie also wanted to know about UFO sightings in this area, and God knows I have a lot of information on THAT, but God also knows that I’m not allowed to talk about it. Not after The Incident. 

Other people were helpful, too. A nice man named Donald asked me to do a report on “what really goes into the McRib.” 

I’d look into that, too, but I kind of don’t wanna. 

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A fellow named Chris suggested: “How about all us ’80s guys making dad bods a wanted thing. Before us, no one wanted a dad bod.” 

I had no idea what Chris was talking about. Dad bods? What the heck is that? So I Googled it and as a result, I really wish I hadn’t Googled it. Seriously, Chris. I didn’t need to see a bunch of shirtless guys today. 

Next! 

A dude named Doug wanted to know: “Where’s the money you owe me?” But I don’t think that’s a column suggestion, so I’m just going to ignore it. 

A lass named Wendy wanted to know why the #$#[email protected]! we’re still using Daylight Saving Time and exactly what the !$#$#@ I plan to do about it. 

I agree with Wendy, but the ferocity of her inquiry scares me a little, so I’m going to move on. 

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Michelle wanted me to do a little something, something on who makes the best lobster roll around here. I was about to go on a Melanie-level tirade about how I’m not writing a food column here, but then Michelle pulled the rug out. 

Turns out she was just teasing. 

“Every time I’m in Maine visiting the husband’s family,” she explained, “every magazine has a damn story about the best lobster roll. One would think there would have been some sort of knockdown street fight to settle it once and for all by now.” 

You know? I really like the sound of a bare-knuckle brawl to decide the supremacy of a sandwich made out of crustacean meat. Editors, let’s set this up! 

Linda, if that’s her real name, demands to know why we don’t have a Target or Olive Garden yet, in spite of all the promises. I looked into it. Turns out that these big corporations telling us one thing and then doing another is all part of the “Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire” retail doctrine. So that makes sense. 

And then additional weasels weighed in saying they’d like to see something about the rising gas prices, the job market or business strategies in the post-COVID era.  

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Really? Now you want my input on economic matters? I think these people are TRYING to set me off, probably just for the lolz. Seriously, did Melanie put you up to this?  

Some very fine ideas were floated by me over the course of the day, and I’d like to get to each and every one of them, but as you can see, I’m almost out of space, which is just awesome. 

And I’d like to thank you all for the thought you put into … 

Whoa! Here comes another column idea. Lisa (if that’s her real name) would like me to write Street Talk about the St. Mary’s Nutrition Center. 

Me. Write about nutrition. Have you SEEN my eating habits? 

OK, Melanie. It was fun for a while, but I’m gonna have to ask you to stop mind-controlling these people. It’s starting to freak me out. 

Frankly, I’m starting to regret telling you the unvarnished truth about Bates Mill’s dark history. 

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