Instead, my first official contact was a phone call informing me I had become a “duplication of effort”. On the one hand, it seemed kind of abrupt after 23 years of writing Slightly Off The Mark and close to 25 years of doing news articles and features; on the other hand, the people making these decisions aren’t the same ones I’ve been working with. It’s business. You can storm the newspaper office to protest (and I kinda wish you would, just to make me feel better), but it’s probably pointless. I am upset that I didn’t get a chance to write a farewell column, though. Instead of going out like M*A*S*H, I went out like “Alf”. (Oh, just look it up.)
In addition to being the end of the best job I’ve ever had, it’s a huge hit to us financially. I still have my full time job, but this is the equivalent of taking a ten percent pay cut. I’d like to find someone else to print my column, but everyone wants to be a humor columnist and nobody wants to print one. My very funny friend Barry Parham, after trying to sell his column to literally thousands of publications, titled one of his books after the response he got from one editor: “Sorry, We Can’t Use Funny”.
To add insult to injury, I have nine or ten columns written ahead! I don’t know what my next move will be, but if I don’t find a home for the column, start selling some books, or win the lottery, I might have to give up my writing in return for that oft-joked about career in the fast food industry. Stay tuned.