Why is This Column Different From All Others?
Most of you are probably expecting five short observations on things in the world around me. I hope you are used to disappointment, because you are in for it.
Much like the disappointment that comes with being in an airport while forgetting both my cell phone charger and my headphones. The first lapse in memory will force me to spend a weekend not speaking to those I am trying to reach. The second one will force me to spend a flight speaking to those I am trying to avoid. I didnâ€™t even plan on plugging my headphones in to anything. I was just going to wear them. If my neighbor notices the dangling headphone cord, so be it. Itâ€™s what they get for arriving late enough to have a middle seat.
I wrote a column for two and a half years about looking at stuff around me and reporting what I saw. Kind of the little brother urging you to look out his side of the car. But after graduating college, things have slowly begun to change. But not in the airport. Iâ€™m still sitting here avoiding people, just like I was a half hour ago.
Observational Humor used to be about college, but I felt a bit sheepish writing about something I was no longer part of. So I started writing about working life, but thatâ€™s no fun at all. When you tell someone that you write college humor, they say, â€œParties, rock!â€ When you tell someone that you write office humor, they say, â€œExcuse me, Irving, may I borrow your stapler? I seem to have used up the last of my staples while putting together my painfully boring life.â€
When I started to write this column, I was left at a crossroads. And not the kind that has Britney Spears trying to act (whew). My crossroads involved me making a decision. So I finally made one: I bought a new pair of headphones from the airportâ€™s Overpriced Random Things Depot. Actually, I bought two. I wanted mini headphones, and you could only get those â€œfreeâ€ with a twelve-dollar pair of big headphones. The Depot also carries the big headphones without the mini headphones, priced at six dollars.
Equipped with headphones, I started thinking about what to write this week. I could give you a riveting expose on white out or the dress code or the gradual change from water coolers to soda machines or something else that your parents might enjoy reading. Or I could write about whatever I felt like, on a week-to-week basis, and just try to be as entertaining as possible. The decision was much easier than whether or not to blow twelve bucks on headphones.
The problem that decision creates is if interesting things happen around me often enough to write about. Interesting things that I can write about here, anyway. Thereâ€™s all sorts of interesting stuff that goes on between people I know that you wouldnâ€™t really care about. Like when John asked Patricia out, and she turned him down because she wanted to date Patrick, and then everyone made fun of her because her name was Patricia and so she shouldnâ€™t date someone named Patrick. This is an example of something that would not make a good column.
Living in New York and having a keen sense of perception helps. Which is much healthier than living in New York with a keen sense of smell, since that would prevent you from ever leaving your apartment. I enjoy looking at the things around me, thinning them out into bite size pieces, and serving them to my readers like the tiny bag of pretzels and the 5 ounce cup of Sprite that will keep me full all the way to Los Angeles.
Little things like this should provide me with both hunger pains and countless weeks of column material; the world is full of things that make for funny anecdotes. Like the guy who just sat down next to me and is letting his kid run around touching people.
A lot of people have written to me asking if I could make my columns longer, and I have traditionally told them to go pound. So it is possible that none of them are reading this, since they are all busy pounding. But if they have not yet begun to pound, or perhaps they finished their pounding early, they might be reading this after all. I hope that my new format did not disappoint any of them.
Unless they are the guy with the weird kid who keeps touching me. I hope he gets dissapointed constantly.