Just a short while ago, I wrote a bunch of words about my first visit to the Maine Mall in Portland in 20 years. Wahoo, right? Then I read the column, shuddered a few times and hucked it into the trash. I mean, who the #@#$#@! cares about my experience in a mall massage chair? 

Then I settled in to write an insightful, illuminating, incisive and possibly other synonyms piece about the efforts of a nonprofit group to buy the Sun Journal. But then I thought about all the research I’d have to do on that matter, all the people I’d have to talk to and, well … I kind of don’t wanna. 

In my defense, it’s rainy outside, I didn’t sleep well and I’m only on my ninth cup of coffee. Some days the mental energy to write something of merit just isn’t there and so I turn — sadly and with great reluctance — to Facebook. 

I tell you, Facebook might be an intrusive, frustrating, meme-plagued waste of time most days, but when it comes to scrounging up column ideas, it just can’t be beat. I may not have the intellectual gusto to generate ideas of my own today, but plenty of you weirdos were happy to step up and do it for me. All I had to do was ask. Which I did. Without shame. 

OK, there’s a little shame.  

I asked the people for a column ideas and the people delivered. They also kind of made it clear that a lot of people are day drinking these days, but who am I to judge?


Ernie suggests that I turn Street Talk into one giant Mad Lib. It’s a truly great idea, only I know how Mad Libs work — it’s only fun if you use dirty words, body parts and other obscenities to fill in the blanks and there ain’t no WAY my editors are going to wave through a column where every other word is ##[email protected]@ and %%$#@# and especially !$#$#!! The prudes. Come on, man! Let’s sell some papers! 

Bill asks: Why do clothes dryers spin clockwise? I swore to myself that I wasn’t going to spend time scouring the internet for an answer because that’s exactly what Bill WANTED me to do for his own personal yucks. But curiosity got the better of me and I did look it up. Here’s the answer I got: “Because dryer motor rotates in the counterclockwise direction to pressure the air and pushed out the water to the releasing area.” Thank you, Mr. Science Man. Tell me, exactly how high ARE you right now, anyway? 

Jimmy wanted to know a little something something about all the art sculptures that appear around the city of Lewiston. Who decides what is art, he wants to know? “And can we put our artwork on their streets?” It’s an excellent question and one that demands a closer scrutiny. Which really irritates me — I thought I was pretty clear about not wanting to do any real work today. 

A fellow named John was earnestly confused by the fact that I’m scrounging for column ideas on Facebook like a stray cat in a dumpster. It was his impression that my editors at work tell me what to write about week after week. This made me both titter and snort: If John honestly thinks my editors are responsible for all the dumb crap I write about, it would appear he doesn’t have a very high opinion of editors. But then, who does? 

A couple people wanted to hear my thoughts on Tucker Carlson leaving FOX News and Don Lemon departing CNN. At which point I both yawned and gagged at the same time, which was very uncomfortable for me. I take celebrity journalists about as seriously as I take professional rasslin’, so yeah. Yawn, gag, no comment.  

Sue asked me to pen a scathing column complaining about Lewiston’s lack of stores. Sue is clearly not familiar with my work — I recently wrote up a list of all the things one can’t buy in Lewiston and the list was so long, the paper had to put out a special supplement to fit it all in. T’would have been easier to just list the stuff you CAN buy here. That list is pretty short.


Scrappie suggested “lawn decorating” as a topic. It’s a pretty cool idea I will grant you. There are quite a few crazy decorators in this area and it would be good to know more about them. But this sounds like the kind of assignment I’d get from an editor who would then tell me to “have fun with it.” When an editor tells you to have fun with a story, it means they tried to get eight other reporters to do it and failed. So no, Scrappie. I ain’t falling for it this time. Find another fool and hey! Have fun with that.

Rolande wanted me to write up a guide on how to stop political groups from “harassing people on a daily basis.” Hell, Rolande, if I knew how to do that, I wouldn’t have to sift through an estimated 3,000 emails from political action groups every day and I’d have more time to write award-winning columns such as this one. 

Jeanne demands to know why there are A, C and D batteries, but nothing from the B crowd. You have to admit, it’s an intriguing question. During yet more exhaustive research, I learned that there USED to be B batteries, but apparently they did something so heinous, even the dollar stores won’t put them on the shelves and dollar stores have no standards at all.

Eriks, which is possibly two people named Erik, thought I should do something about May pole dancing. But if I know editors the way I think I do, I have a crawling suspicion that if I brought up May pole dancing on my own, one of them would get all worked up about the idea and demand that I do a feature story about it. “Go out for a May pole dance,” they would say. “And have fun with it!” 

Jeanne suggested a column about ceiling fans. Ralph wanted to see a write-up on cheese. Chris thought I should offer up my thoughts about the complexities of nose hair, while Nicole requested a hard-hitting piece on “Aglets. The overlooked hero of athletic footwear.” 

Whenever I get to wondering if I’ve turned deranged from writing this column for so long, I think about the topic ideas that you people come up with when I ask for them and like that, I feel better. 

When all is said and done, I think I might be the most sane person out here, and man that’s saying something. 

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: