I didn’t ask for this job. I inherited the responsibility, reluctantly, under threat of spousal “none-er-ry.” Write or be cut off from non-medical benefits. I chose to write. What can I say? The marital “none-er-ry” card always gets my attention. BTW, Lisa, the “none-er-ry” card didn’t need to be played to force me to write. But I play the victim well, don’t I?
Writing a monthly humor column is a dangerous public high-wire act without a safety net. But here I am, 10 years later, and the number of death threats have been relatively few (with the exception of family members, of course). Yes, there was the Canadian woman who took such serious offense to my “Canada, Do The Right Thing” piece (in which I implored, totally tongue-in-cheek, Canada to give Victoria, B.C. back to America) that she copied me on a scathing email to Mayor Kelli Linville. Thank you, Kelli, for having my back. And then there was the response by a female reader, who was so upset that she excoriated me in an email written from her chiropractor’s waiting room (where she just finished reading Loretta’s piece on post-divorce dating). Apparently, Loretta was unduly disrespectful of men in her humor, prompting her to write, “What if a man had written this”? I still chuckle at the response. Uh, ma’am, I am Loretta, and males could learn a thing or two from Loretta’s playful “catch and release” dating etiquette tips. She knows men because she is one.
For the most part, though, readers have held their collective tongues despite my efforts to tempt fate with such titles as “Surviving Menopause,” “The Mortgasm Myth,” “The Other Cavity Search,” “Husbandcare.gov,” “The Full Monty,” and “In Search of the Holy Polyps.” Loretta has been no less provocative, starting with her (my) first piece under her name, “Cleavage Etiquette,” which then spawned such titles as “Gender Confusion Explained,” “The Brazilian,” “Fifty Shades of Purple,” “Garbage Shaming,” and the infamous “Loretta’s Post-Divorce Guide To Dating.” Truth be told, based on feedback, most readers prefer when I channel my inner Loretta. Loretta is apparently funnier. Am I jealous? No. Well, maybe just a little. The bitch! There, I feel better.
I have to give credit where credit is due, however, for the low number of death threats. Lynden, you are my humor check valve that keeps me coloring within the humor lines, more or less. Okay, I admit, sometimes less. Perhaps first drafts of my humor pieces will, someday, be worth mega bucks, but thanks to my admiration for Lynden’s family values, the final edit of each Final Word is filtered through what we affectionately refer to as “the Lynden test.” If the humor would offend Lynden’s sensibilities, the red editing pen comes out. The off-color humor piling up over the years on my editing floor is almost waist deep now—probably just as well. Someone has to keep me in line. We all know that my wife, Lisa, can’t. Thank you, my beloved Lynden.
All humor aside, as co-owner of K&L Media, I am blessed, too, to have the privilege and freedom to carve out separate space for myself when I have something serious to say. From time to time, I surprise everyone, including my mother, with raw, honest, and oft-times personal introspective pieces about life. I refer to them as my “public redemption” essays, like “The Measure of a Man’s Life,” “When The Bells Stop Ringing,” “A Parent’s Pain,” “The Power of One,” “Reflections in the Mirror,” and most recently, “Racism, Bigotry and Mother’s Love” and “If Mother America Could Speak.” Are they working? Gosh, my mother hopes so. She would like to go out in public again, soon. She’s been in hiding since “The Mortgasm Myth” was published in 2010.
By its nature, Bellingham Alive is designed to be a perpetual work in progress. As our community changes, Bellingham Alive will always change with it. Few may have believed that Bellingham Alive would succeed when we published our first issue 10 years ago in the Great Recession. I did, however. I had faith in my wife, Lisa, and her vision and determination. Our goal was simple—to simply make a difference in our community, to celebrate our community, and to help drive business through the doors of our community. Certainly, we hope that our magazine has become a source of pride for our local counties. That is our goal. That is our commitment to you.
For my part, I have had the honor of a lifetime—the opportunity to entertain and to provoke thought in each Final Word. I am grateful for our staff, our readers, our advertisers, and our supporters, and perhaps most of all to Lisa for providing me with a platform in each issue to use my voice. I promise to retire, dear, when I am 80. I am having too much fun until then. Fortunately, humor is perhaps the only thing that doesn’t wrinkle with age.
Ten years down, Bellingham Alive. Very, very cool.