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Years ago

Walkin

My first column appeared in the Aug. 12, 1992, edition of the Solon Economist.
It was called “For What It’s Worth.”
I explained the origin of the name with the following:
The title is an old one. I first used it when I was a journalist in the Army. It stems from one of the truths I’ve tried to live my life by: “It’s not important to be right if right is done.”
Where the hell did that come from? Was I really that idealistic then? If it was my motto at the time, why don’t I remember ever hearing it? Or was I cynical, using some sappy sentiment to endear myself to readers? Ask me what my motto is today, and I’d most likely offer, “Better to ask forgiveness than permission,” or “Do to others like they’d do to you, but do it first.”
Then I documented how I tore my hamstring playing softball.
I remember all too well. The injury was severe enough the blood pooled around my ankle creating a blue blob that prevented me from wearing a shoe.
I finished off with a paragraph about a guy from Dubuque who attended a KKK rally and got the crap beat out of him. The guy’s father bemoaned how his son’s right to free speech had been denied. I called both the guy and his father turds.
This first column was fairly representative of what was to come.
Over the next 25 years, I’d share stories about my personal life mixed in with my political views. I’d tell you about family, friends and girl friends, and pets. I’d argue again and again marijuana should be legal, there’s too much money in politics and there’s little socially redeeming value in being a conservative.
Sometimes, I like to think I could even be funny and/or clever.
For example in the Nov. 11 issue of the same year, I wrote:
Did you see that archaeologists working in Samaria think they have found the earliest evidence of beer? They’ve found 7,000-year-old jars with a yellow residue that they think is dried beer.
Other clues include 7,000-year-old beer nuts (still fresh!) on the floor; a device in the corner that appears to play Hebrew C & W backwards (you get back your wife, job and dog); and symbols on the jars that when translated read Israeli Refund 5 Cents, Michigan Refund 10.
No wonder, the good Samaritan.
And on Dec. 2, I wrote my first index column, which is a list of seemingly unrelated facts and figures, when put together tell a bigger story. In that column, I wrote:
Number of “role-free, non-sexist” books, tapes and videos for children listed in a pamphlet published by the Iowa City Public Library: 65
Number of female names used in the titles: 40.
Number of male names: 16.
Example of titles referring to females: Rodeo Girl and Folktales of Strong Women.
Example of titles using male names: Oliver Button is a Sissy and William’s Doll.
Gender of the library employee compiling the list: female.
The column went on to lampoon some corruption and sexual escapades of prominent politicians (does anything ever change?) before finishing up with the following observation on something more local:
The reason why the Country Store (now Sam’s Main Street Market) in Solon keeps a safe on the premises: to meet insurance requirements in case of a fire.
Position the safe is kept at night: open.
Reason: Insurance company won’t pay for damage to safe because so many are getting broken into.