It was a great run -- about 15 years of writing this column probably more than 700 times. But this is the last one as the Norwalk Citizen shuts its doors. In that span, I recounted the quirky twists and turns of my life that I thought readers could identify with, and perhaps even laugh about.
I appreciate the readers who took the time to comment on what I had written. Being a columnist, you write in a vacuum and are never sure who is reading your work -- if at all.
Of course, I wrote some columns that irritated, agitated and plain pissed off some readers. And they told me so, suggesting that I take up another line of work, such as snail farming. While I appreciate the tip, I just didn't think it worked for me. I'm sure there's a lot of money to be made in the business.
Little did I know that writing about the Yankees winning the World Series in 2009 would spark a reader's ire to the extent that he called me nasty names. Now you can write about ending world hunger or working for world peace, and many will shrug, burp and continue doing Sudoku puzzles.
But I knew I touched a nerve (without meaning to -- kind of) when I said all was right with the world again because the Yanks were the World Champs for the 27th time in 2009. This irate reader told me in an email that I was an elitist and couldn't write or know what I was talking about.
After shooting emails back and forth as if we were firing paint balls at each other, he confessed that he was a Red Sox fan -- oh, what a surprise -- and I had trashed his team. I tried to reason with him that I meant it all as joke (kind of), and wished the Sox the best in 2467. By the way, I also pointed out that he had misspelled a few words and written several illogical run-on sentences, but I encouraged him to write again any time. He never did.
One of the columns that I enjoyed writing the most was about a Divorced Guy Shower. Having experienced a divorce, I realized that most guys move out of the house with a couple of pairs of socks and underwear and a bottle of wine. So I suggested that the friends of divorced guys should throw the recent disenfranchised husband a shower to gift him some domestic essentials, such as spoons, knives, cups, bowls, plates, toilet plunger and iron.
I wrote this column from personal experience after my recent divorce, inspired by attempts to iron a pair of pants on a nappy carpet. It just didn't work, and I scorched the carpet.
I received several comments about this column (mostly from women) who thought it was a sterling idea with great merit (who I suspect were recently divorced). I'm still hoping that it will catch on and ease the suffering of wretched divorced guys everywhere.
From time to time, I received comments from readers who suggested that I should write about more "serious" issues; I was being too whimsical. Hmmm, it seems that there's plenty of seriousness going on around these days and we need to laugh and appreciate the absurdities of life more.
For example, I once did a piece about "sceeving;" it doesn't get much more serious than that. It's a slang Italian expression that expresses disdain -- a real eeeeeew moment. You're a sceever, if you see people's personal habits that gross you out. Here's a list, flossing in public, nose or ear picking, spitting, or eating from a stranger's plate. The list is endless, depending on your sceeve tolerance. In this one piece, I exposed uninformed readers to a foreign word, insights to human behavior, and cultural mores.
Then there was the "serious" column on visiting an art museum with my daughter who was a freshman in college at the time. I discussed all the fine works of art, dating from antiquity to the present. While I was really enjoying the visit to the art museum, we wandered into the contemporary art section when it all came undone for me. I thought I shared some keen insight to contemporary art and expressed what many have wanted to say.
Here's a sample: "Then there was a large canvas, about five feet tall that was painted entirely black. I studied it and noticed black squares in each corner, painted a deeper black than the most of the canvas. I cocked my head left, then right as if I knew what I was looking at. After some deep study, I reached a profound artistic conclusion: "I don't get it. Why bother?"
For the record, I did a column on toilet paper clothing that I think speaks for itself as a serious topic.
Truth be told, I have written about some serious topics, which I was glad I had the outlet to express -- a daughter going to her first prom, a daughter going away to college, then getting married, the death of my father, and the death of a pet.
I truly enjoyed writing these columns and will miss the Norwalk Citizen, which I edited for a brief time at the turn of the millennium. I thank Hearst Corp. for giving me the opportunity to write it. To any readers that have come this far, thank you.
Frank Szivos is a freelance writer. He can be reached at email@example.com.