Here we are again dear readers. Another week, another column. You, dear readers, are my partners in crime so to speak. You have your part to play in this little weekly routine that we share, just as I have mine. My job is to amuse, enlighten, stir emotion or otherwise entertain (hopefully) in about 750 words or less. Your job is to read what I write. We depend on each other, without you I couldn’t do my job, and without me you couldn’t do yours.
There’s no hard and fast rule that demands you have to like what I write, matter of fact you might hate every single one of my columns and yet continue to read my words each week without fail. You might even look forward, in some nutty masochistic way, to reading my stuff just so you can get mad and hate me all over again. Hate is a driving force, an all-encompassing emotion that keeps the blood flowing and the mind charged.
I willingly accept hateful readers to my column. The important thing for me is not that everyone agrees with my point of view, it’s enough that I have readers, any kind of readers. The main thing is to have people who read my column. Why they read my column is unimportant. It’s like any business: do the producers of TV shows really care why people are watching the shows? No, as long as the ratings are high it doesn’t matter. If they hate the show but tune in every week, who cares?
On the other hand, you might be a reader who loves my columns, can’t wait to read ‘em. Maybe you agree with everything I write about. Maybe you find the humor or sarcasm, or irony, or insight or whatever it is that I happen to be harping on that week, wonderfully entertaining. That’s great. It’s always a nice thing to know that there are people who get what I’m saying and I appreciate it immensely. I value these readers highly.
As long as you are reading this space, you are doing your job, dear readers. As for my job, well there’s no rule that I have to enjoy or even like writing a weekly column every single week. Sure, sometimes I love doing it; sometimes I can’t wait to put into words the crazy thoughts that go through my brain. Those are the good weeks.
There are times, however, that I would rather do almost anything other than sit in front of the computer screen and bang out another column. Some weeks I can’t come up with a subject to hang a column on. But it’s a bit like show biz, I guess, even if you don’t have your heart into it, “The show must go on.” And likewise the column must go on.
Sometimes I get asked where I come up with my ideas week after week. If I knew that, I would never be at a loss for a subject, I would simply go to the magic idea place and pick out a nice topic for the week. Sort of like going to the market and picking out a nice ripe watermelon. And if the watermelons aren’t in season, I might choose some other fruit. With fruit you can always get something. Coming up with fresh ideas is something else again.
Some weeks my columns are political, or cultural or topical. Other times they are silly or lighthearted. Some are sarcastic and some are serious. It all depends on my mood. This week I’m in an “I don’t know what the hell to write about” mood. But you knew that, didn’t you?
One thing that I look forward to each week is getting feedback from what I’ve written. Although if I had my druthers I’d prefer all positive comments, I’ll take the negative ones right along with the good. Negative or positive, when the letters come rolling in I know that I’ve hit an emotional chord with people. I’ve done my job.
So now that brings us to almost the end of another column, dear readers. Somehow I’ve managed to fulfill my part of the bargain, and you, by reading this, have lived up to yours. We worked together to make this column thing pay off for another week. Now that wasn’t so hard, was it?
Greg Crosby is a writer and cartoonist and former executive at the Walt Disney Company.