Back when it was acceptable to describe a young woman as snappy, feisty or perky – I was a snappy, perky, feisty reporter for my high school newspaper. To get your name on the masthead, deeming you an official reporter, you needed to publish X amount of column inches. (The X is not in the interest of coyness, but a reflection of a flagging memory when it comes to events that took place during my snappy years.)
Of all the aspiring reporters, I landed on the masthead first. My beat was the theater department beat. I wrote an article listing the entire cast of the school play which lucky for me was Oklahoma! You can squeeze a lot of column inches out of all those farmers and bonneted ladies in the chorus of Oklahoma! I spent the next few weeks gloating as my fellow intrepid journalists eeked out their stories about upcoming cafeteria menus and the cheerleaders’ bake sale – feeling damn proud of Masthead Me. Until one Friday when I opened the latest issue to discover Jane Corrigan had a column in the paper. With her photo!
How humbling. How annoying. What could be snappier or feistier than that? I didn’t even know it was possible to have a column in the school paper. I certainly hadn’t thought to ask. And now Jane was the Ann Landers of New Trier High School, as cool as Irv Kupcinet or Mike Royko, columnists in the Chicago Sun-Times. I’d gone from perky and snappy to envious.
Heading off to college and majoring in advertising instead of journalism, my Lois Lane days were over, but still, the idea of my own column haunted me. Until now.
I have this blog, right? The poor man’s version of a personal column. And do I crank out topics and opinions and observations like a regular Brenda Starr? (For those who did not waste their formative years reading comic strips, Brenda was a cartoon character in the Sun-Times, a girl reporter who was always drawn with stars in her eyes. Literally.)
No. Instead I find myself going: “Eegads! I’m supposed to blog!” Blogging’s become my latest obligation. How did Irv and Ann and Mike do it? – pop those columns out on a regular basis. Or Brenda, with her vision clouded by celestial objects?
But after decades of envy, Jane Corrigan, hats off to you.
I’m over it.