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More choices than real estate agents

Some folks seem to think writing a weekly column takes a certain level of intelligence. In spite of being proof positive to the contrary, I am repeatedly asked how I choose a topic each week.Do I ever have trouble thinking of a subject? How far in advance do I write? Do I actually go through one keyboard every three months because of how hard I strike the keys when angry? Does Mr. Rogers really wear a wool sweater while suggesting what I write about in a smug, patronizing manner? Since some inquiring minds are so danged inquiring, the following is a sample of thought processes that occur within the parameters of my evolutionized brain on a typical day when I am not playing tag with a golf ball in the morning but instead concentrating on a column.Here, in chronological order, is what went through my little head during a five, or maybe it was ten, minute period reading last Thursday’s Vail Daily:First, I strolled outside in my robe just in time to catch the Vail Daily delivery guy in his burgundy Toyota pickup as he waved hello and then tossed the yellow bag in the general direction of my cold, bare feet.As always, I began by scanning the headline: School Board Eases Request. Hmmm, I wondered to myself. I must read the details concerning their definition of the word ‘ease.’ Oh, I see, they ‘eased’ from $139 million all the way back to $128 million, even though a paid consultant recommended they stay under $100 million if they actually hoped to stand a snowball’s chance of passing the tax increase. To paraphrase Anna Scully, brilliant people, simply brilliant.I knew right than and there, yep, that was something I could write about.Continuing to scan, I looked to see whose words of wisdom were highlighted in the quote of the day. It was Butch Mazzuca, and yet another collection of his articulate nouns and verbs and such covering subjects with historical research and dignified, eloquent phrases.Yawn. I turned the page.With a loud enough, “Wha?!” to make the neighbor dog start yapping, I read about half a million dollars worth in damage and stolen items from the CostCo building site. Half a million bucks, I kept questioning as I walked back into the house. This isn’t government construction. What sort of building are they putting up down there? What brand of idiot would leave that type of stuff lying around without some kind of security? Did someone accidentally slip an extra “0” in the headline?Again, that was something I could write about.Then I read about Michael Bair, Hugo Benson, and Mike Lederhause all losing in the primaries. I assumed, but then truly wondered, if any of them would pull a “Lieberman” and run as Independents.It would be an interesting column if the premise weren’t so pathetic.Hey, this was interesting: Liquor store clerks not carding underage buyers: Wow, now there’s something new. Certainly never heard of that one before.There was something I would not write about. Ever. Except today of course.Another hiker missing on Holy Cross: What a shock. A group left a slacker behind and, lo and behold, he was gone upon their return. Can you spell deja vu? Luckily they found him a few days later safe and sound.Another shocker: Aspen is full of snobs. Who’d a thunk?Wouldn’t waste my time writing about it.Making it to the commentary page, I read repetitive snide remarks about Menconi and Runyon’s attempt to get a tax increase for government funded babysitting.Talk about beating a dead horse upstream during a blizzard.Huge column potential, but I’ll hold off until closer to Election Day.Finally I came across the silly fake boxing match held weekly between Rogers of the VD and Miller of the VT. Sure, they’re both simply doing as they are told by the proverbial powers that be, but it might as well be sanctioned by the WWWF (World Word Wrestling Federation) for all the sincerity it is oozing.Time was up, as my coffee was ready and the Denver Post beckoned with even more possibilities. It should be painfully obvious at this point to understand that I never, ever have trouble thinking of a subject, nor is it ever necessary to write more than a day or two in advance. And for what it’s worth, actually being angry while writing could cause me to come across as nothing more than a Zalaznick wanna-be and, with all due respect, I don’t wanna-be.And about Mr. Rogers wearing a wool sweater while suggesting what I write about in a smug, patronizing manner: The only thing I’ve ever seen him wear with any consistency is a persistent grin.Richard Carnes of Edwards writes a weekly column for the Daily. He can be reached at poor@vail.net Vail, Colorado


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