By Larry Teren
Some people just don’t have a sense of humor of any kind nor a talent for recognizing genius. Why, just the other day I contacted one of them fancy New York intellectual periodicals and suggested they check out my written material. I mentioned that I have written over 340 brief articles, usually of great wit, on various topics. Considering that these periodicals publish only once a month I have enough material to offer for years to come.
One of these alleged editors- at least that’s what she calls herself- writes back and wants to know if she can see some samples of my work. I respond in an email with my website address and suggest a few of the better quality postings. Let’s see now, this is about a week ago. I’ll give her a few more days- maybe even another week. I’m sure she’s a busy woman.
Another editor type gives me his phone number and says I can call him at my convenience. My convenience is right away so as soon as I get his email directing me as such I speak into my cellphone the ten digits. I don’t know his convenience so when we connect I jump in and tell him right away a couple of my stories.. He says that it sounds interesting. He then wants to know how I pick my subjects since they are so varied. I tell him that a title of a story comes to mind usually as I am getting ready to fall asleep and then I work it backwards to create the narrative. For example, “Come Fly With Me” is about trying to get someone to go on a vacation that requires getting there by airplane. “The Wee Small Hours of the Morning” is about having insomnia and the thoughts racing through my overtired brain at 4:30am. And “The Tender Trap” is how I almost am snookered into getting hitched to this alleged lady who has financial troubles and is looking for a sugar daddy.
So, the fellow stops me in my tracks and says, “you know, of course, that those are titles of songs sung by Frank Sinatra. Each of them.” I reply “how do you like that? I guess great minds think alike.” He says, “you gotta be more original than that.” So, I say, “ok, how about a story where I reminisce about the past when things were a lot better than they are now? I could put together a string of nostalgic stories. I’ll title the column, “Yesterday”.
That’s when, dear reader, I thought I heard a click. I say, “Hello, hello- did we lose the connection?” No response. The nerve of the guy.
I then realized that New York just isn’t ready for my type of intellect. I should stick to Chicago. I checked out some stories written by past newspaper and magazine writers like Mike Royko and Studs Terkel. Most of their good stuff seems to happen in drinking establishments. I’m thinking of making up some stories about a bartender who listens to his customers’ sad tales of woe. I even got a name for the series of articles. I’ll call it “Duffy’s Tavern”. Whatcha think?