After 15 years of reporting the ups, down and occasional side trips of arts and entertainment in Solano County, I’m going to be changing my focus somewhat and reporting on the ups, downs and occasional side trips of the justice system in Solano County.
Figuratively speaking, I’m moving from the ballet studio to the courtroom (and, no, I’m not bringing any ballerinas along for the trip, although the idea has crossed my mind…)
When the announcement was made to my fellow ink-stained wretches and a handful of readers, reactions were mixed. They ranged from “Congratulations!” to “Oh, no! You’re going to start wearing that smelly overcoat again and drinking Irish whiskey from an aquarium!”
The latter concerns are completely groundless. I lost that overcoat to a playful German Shepherd 20 years ago and my dainty whiskey receptacle was run over by a golf cart shortly thereafter.
Some friends also were concerned about the fate of this newspaper column.
“You’re not going to keep writing the column are you? After all, it’s kind of, ah, unusual. People will see you coming and hide in the elevator until you’ve gone by,” explained one remarkably sensitive reader.
Or, more bluntly, “Your column makes ‘News of the Weird’ read like a rather routine weather report from Iowa.”
My buddies didn’t stop there, either. They wanted me to fully understand the heartfelt depths of their quite justifiable concern.
“You’ve admitted to being a card-carrying Seattle Seahawks’ fan…”
“What about that time you got into a shootout with the rats in your old apartment?”
(Poppycock. There was no shootout. The rats were unarmed. I had the .357 magnum…)
And perhaps the most damning columns of all:
“Everybody knows your closest confidant is an unreconstructed counterculture freak named Sapper who, in your own words, is ‘Forever lost in the Age of Aquarius after ingesting some unidentified herbs near Bolinas in 1968.’ Yeah, that’s going to make the officers of the court beat a path to your door to bare their souls.”
OK, OK, I admit there may be a few minor credibility issues to deal with here, particularly that Seahawks’ thing, but they can be overcome. I am, after all, a professional newspaper reporter. I know the difference between a hard news story and an opinion column.
(And, sadly enough, the difference between the Raiders and the Seahawks…)
So this column, weird as it may seem to staid sorghum farmers and itinerant barge captains, will continue into the foreseeable future.
(C’mon, c’mon, how the hell should I know what the ‘foreseeable future’ is? The last time I checked my pulse, the foreseeable future was still quite, er, foreseeable. For awhile, at least…)
To ease the transition, here’s a promise I’m going to make to all my old and future friends down at the Hall of Justice:
Don’t do anything weird and you’ll never see your name in this column.
Hey, that won’t be too hard here in Solano County, right?
See you in court, amigos…
Originally published December 1, 2002