Sunday, May 22, 2011

Gene Weingarten (Part One)

The following is a faux conversation I had with Gene Weingarten whose original columns appear weekly in the El Paso Times.  That is, when he's not on vacation.
     "Mr. Weingarten--if that really is your name--what a nice little scam you have."
     "What do you mean?"
     "I couldn't help but notice that when you're on vacation the American public has to endure regurgitations of your old columns.  Pardon me, but isn't it your job to write a single column just once a week?"
     "Why, yes it is."
     "In that case, do you really find it necessary to take a vacation when, in fact, your whole life's a vacation?"
     "Well, that's not really fair, Mr. Duchene.  I mean, I do a lot of other stuff besides write one column a week."
     "Judging by your picture, Mr. Weingarten--if that really is your name--I would guess that getting a haircut and going on a diet is not on the list of 'stuff' that you do."
     "Hey, now that really isn't fair.  The camera adds five pounds."
     "And just how many cameras were pointing at you when that picture was taken?"
     "I'll ignore that.  Let me educate you, Mr. Duchene, writing a column is hard work.  There are telephone calls I have to make.  People I have to interview.  Individual letters that have to be typed out on my keyboard one by one.  Papers I have to pick up.  Papers I have to put back down.  Trust me, it's hard, hard work."
     "C'mon, Mr. Weingarten--if that really is your name--you can lie to your readers, but don't lie to me.  I've only been in front of my typewriter now for five minutes and I've easily churned out over 300 words, and the columns you write aren't very different than what I'm doing now.  I just string a few words together, throw in a little dialogue from a telephone interview I supposedly made, and there you have it:  a column."
     "It's not the quantity of the words you write, sir.  It's the quality of the words."
     "I'd say it's not the quality of the words, since I've yet to find any, but it's actually the quantity of the columns that you consistantly fail to produce.  Come on now, once or twice a year you can't sit an extra twenty minutes in front of your computer and squeeze out an additional column or two, so that when you go on vacation we don't have to dine on last year's holiday turkey?  It's not like you have a real job."
     "That's it.  I don't have to take this from you.  I'm leaving."
     "On another vacation?"
     "Well... now that you mention it."

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