Published Sunday, March 24, 2013
I am ever indebted to readers of what I try to write. As a teenager, I started covering high school sports events for The Macon Telegraph and News. My very first story was scheduled to be published in next morning’s paper.
I could hardly wait for day to dawn.
I rushed out in my pajamas, opened the paper to the sports page, saw my byline, and my feathers fell: The linotype machine must have gone haywire, printing the lead paragraph with the same words over again three times, spoiling any sense the story might otherwise have made.
Some 70 years later, I am still attempting to write and grateful for those who not only read the column, but suggest a good idea, like this: A woman, concerned about her husband’s high temper, goes to the doctor.
“What’s the trouble?” the physician asks.
The wife replies: “I don’t know what to do. Every day my husband loses his temper for no reason. It scares me.”
The doctor says: “I have a cure for that. When your husband is getting angry, take a glass of water and start swishing it in your mouth. Swish and swish, but don’t swallow it until he either leaves the room or goes to bed and is asleep.”
Two weeks later, the woman comes back to the doctor’s office looking like a new person.
She says, “Doctor that was a brilliant idea. Every time my husband started losing it, I swished with water. I swished and swished and he calmed down. How does a glass of water do that?”
The doctor answered: “The water itself does nothing. It’s keeping your mouth shut that does the trick.”