Culling the Bad Ideas off the List

barry currin, stories of a world gone mad, beaverdamusa.comWhenever I think I have a good idea for a column, I add it to my running list of possible topics.

In that moment, I am always convinced I have come up with the idea that is going to lead to the masterpiece, which in turn will most certainly lead to me getting picked up by the New York Times or some similar international publication.

When I record one of these nuggets I may chuckle out loud, or purse my lips and nod my head with great satisfaction of the riches it will bring. I might feel a tug at my heart because I know it may touch someone on some profound level.

Then on Monday morning when I sit down to try and hammer something out, I sometimes revisit the list if I don’t already know what I’m going to write.

What looks like a box of chocolates in my mind sometimes turns out to be a collection of sow’s ears.

I am constantly amazed by how bad it is. Here are some examples.

“Saving the world one parent at a time.” Usually, I at least remember what my note means. I have no idea whatsoever why I wrote this. I can’t even make up anything funny about it.

“Jesus or hell. Knoxville. Extrapolate.” Back when I was in school at UT, one of the overpasses on the interstate had Jesus or hell spray painted on it. I always thought Jesus was up there shaking his head the way he so often must do.

I’m not sure why I felt the need to remind myself to extrapolate.

“Parallel parking. Time wasted.” Thanks to the Mighty Prius, I am the king of parallel parking. If you turned a milk crate on its side, I could stick that little buggy in it. I am so proud of my newfound superpower that it has become a family joke.

I have no idea what the time wasted part meant.

“Tennis heroes becoming not relevant anymore.” This was going to be one of those “back in the day” pieces. I got the idea after seeing Chris Evert working as a TV commentator during a tennis match.

The last time I saw Chris Evert, she was playing.

Whether it’s sports or music, I always have to resist the urge to write from a nostalgia angle. This morning, I read the list of Grammy nominees from last night’s show, and that was depressing because I knew virtually none of the artists.

Someone named Childish Gambino was nominated. I couldn’t figure out how to make “who on earth is Childish Gambino” funny, so I moved on.

I often look at the news on Monday mornings hoping to find some current event I can make fun of. That hasn’t worked well for me lately, because most current events are so absurd already, I can’t do much with them.

Here’s the last one I’m going to subject you to: “Pizza thrower. Bank teller.”

This was going to be my take on jobs I don’t think I would be very good at. 

Right now, I’m sure you’re thinking I would probably be better at tossing dough than I am at writing an entertaining column.

I’m sure the New York Times would feel the same way.

About Barry Currin

Barry tries to be funny and poignant, and he's usually satisfied when he succeeds with one or the other. (Being both is awesome. And sometimes that happens.) Email him: currin01@gmail.com

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