Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Column Proves 'Priceless'

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Column Proves 'Priceless'

Article excerpt

THIS is my 300th consecutive weekly column. It all began in early April 2008.

The editor-in-chief was much bigger then than he is now and I was frightened of him. He had suggested to me, for no particular reason, that it might be worth having a crack at writing something for his newspaper.

He quickly suggested I wouldn't get paid, but his lovely newspaper could provide a vehicle for me to rat on about almost anything, "providing you don't libel people".

I quickly suggested a nice little new car would be an even better vehicle and I'd find other outlets to express my prejudices. The request fell on deaf ears. This was inevitable from someone whose working life is probably spent receiving and ignoring daft suggestions from readers.

So I agreed to his suggested fee-for-service. He has conscientiously met that obligation every week since that time.

He explained the rules of the game where it seems that his subbies provide the headline under which my words appear. Realising that subbies do, therefore, reluctantly have to skim the words, remove some of the spelling mistakes and get the gist of what's been written was a huge relief.

It was nice to know there would be least one reader, albeit paid to do the job.

You won't be reading this on the customary Wednesday.

Newspaper high-ups decided Jesus' birthday takes precedence over producing regional newspapers. That's understandable; proper, paid, journalists and their bosses deserve a break. Anyway, there would be little time in the day for reading newspapers after all that present-opening, eating and drinking. Celebrating His birthday and stopping the kids fighting over the last mince pie both take time.

Our proper-journalist daughter is spending the holiday with us. She hasn't written a single word since she arrived. It was tempting to ask her to write this 300th column for me, but her requested fee-for-service was excessive. …

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