So long, and Thanks for All the Fish Wrap

A newspaperman bids adieu to 2023.

If you’re not careful, this job will turn you into a cigar-chomping J. Jonah Jameson-style cartoon parody of an editorial professional rather rapidly (except, in my case, with less gray—or, in fact—hair when it comes to my follicular particulars).

Every week is a total crap shoot since one never knows what news will break or who’s going to break your heart with unkind cuts, ruminations on the death of birdcage liner, and various and assorted palace intrigues.

That said, I’m probably composed of more NDAs than DNA at this point, so I’ll hush (as they’ll say in the ’30s, “Don’t trust anyone over 60,” says the man born in ’72). Cough, cough.

Suffice it to say, Roy Batty, the killer replicant in Blade Runner, had it right when he said, “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe.” 

And that’s just in my inbox. 

Yet, I’ve also received kind words, encouragement and attaboys that have been a psychic salve throughout my tenure, especially this year. Oof.

Having finally learned some lessons this year (like, say, I dunno, the distinction between acrostics, anagrams and acronyms), the most germane has been that there is no skeleton key to the hearts and minds of readers—except, of course, the horoscope and trivia columns, which have rabid followings and inspire the most savage vitriol if unprinted.

Every year has its moments, but 2023 had many. 

Too many—and I’m exhausted, psychically, emotionally, spiritually and financially, as I suspect you might be too.  

Understandably, this might read as a downer column, but don’t let its mawkish (or mocking?) tone obscure that one thing that keeps me sane and perhaps you: the work itself. 

Or, as Graham Green once opined, “Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation.”

Remedy for the “human situation”? 

Far from it—let’s not forget Greene is also the guy who said, “People who like quotes love meaningless generalizations”—his words are a reminder that the words are always waiting, and when in doubt, “Writer, write thyself.” Cheers!