If you’re a fan of scary movies, you’ve likely hunkered down in your seat as a familiar scene plays out on the screen. You know the one – where unsuspecting merchant seamen or long-haul truckers are transporting a huge and not nearly secure-enough enclosure with some unknown “thing” inside. They only know that something live – and very large – inside wants to get out. As these doomed workers move the crate, jostling whatever is trapped (for the moment at least) within, an occasional grunt or bellow or even primal scream emerges from within. Cut to extreme close ups of frightened peasant eyes, nervously glancing at the suddenly flimsy plywood – the only barrier between their very lives and the gnashing, snarling, slobbering beast within.
What does this cinematic cliché have to do with this column? I thought you’d never ask. During my recent two month-long, self-imposed hiatus from writing My Thoughts, Exactly, I’ve had many recurring instances where ideas for possible columns would “grunt and growl” at me from deep within the dark and mysterious recesses of my mind, wanting desperately to get out and roam among the unsuspecting populace of these foothills. Occasionally, column topics would loudly shake their confines, roaring for release. (While not a life-threatening condition, it can be a noisy and raucous one for sure – just ask my longsuffering wife.)
Every time something happened at my house, or a news story would be reported that I digested with more than the usual amazement, I would feel the beast of a column stir within. For example, a voter’s guide arrived last month printed in Korean, Farsi, Spanish and, oh yeah – English, wasting who knows how much money and paper. Why not Japanese, Chinese, Hungarian or Egyptian? After all, I know local residents who are fluent in those languages, too. Growl, scratch, thump.
Also in March, a once-in-18-years opportunity to witness a overly large “perigee moon” in our nighttime skies was wasted due to unseasonably thick cloud cover. Snarl, slobber, bump.
Charlie Sheen made frequent moronic, sad and tragic pronouncements in his downward rush towards obscurity and has-been status. Even worse, the media covered it ad nauseam while simultaneously obscuring our nation’s continued loss of credibility and relevance throughout Europe and the Middle East. Roar, slash, crash!
Repeated and very much unwanted calls to my unlisted home phone were made by “retired Glendale school teachers” virtually demanding to know if I will or will not vote in favor of Measure S on this week’s ballot. The only way they could have gotten my number is by poaching it from the emergency phone forms filled out when I still had kids in Rosemont or CV. Whether or not the particular ballot measure is worthy of support, the tactics used to pressure voters into supporting it were annoying if not borderline intimidating. Howl, bellow, shatter!
I even felt compelled to discuss the media-induced hysteria about the possible likelihood of potentially detecting trace amounts of Japanese nuke dust in our air, dairy cows and vegetable crops. No wait, maybe that was the fugitive New York Zoo cobra I should’ve been panicked about. I’m easily confused, you know.
Thankfully (for my sake, at least), after two months away from this space, I’m back! So I no longer need to keep my most dangerous thoughts harmless and confined. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
I can’t wrap up my first column back without thanking the many valued readers of this paper for the notes you’ve sent to both myself and to editor/publisher Robin Goldsworthy. Your kind words were encouraging in ways I can’t begin to express. By the nature of the profession, writers tend to work in deep solitude – which makes it even more reassuring to know that so many of you missed my weekly musings and mutterings enough to say as much and to ask when I would be returning to these pages.
It’s good to be back. And once again, I’ll see you ‘round town.
© 2011 WordChaser, Inc.
Jim Chase is an award-
winning advertising copywriter and native of Southern California. Readers are invited to “friend” his My Thoughts Exactly page on Facebook.
Also visit Jim’s new blog with past columns and additional thoughts at: http://jchasemythoughtsexactly.blogspot.com/