Saturday, April 02, 2011


When I sit down to pen my weekly rant, I observe certain protocols. I open a new document, formatted just so. I check my research file to see what has accumulated over the prior 7 days and demands to be discussed. And like a prisoner in a cell (an analogy more apt that you might think, and one which my wife will corroborate) I note the number in the upper corner, crossing off the old and staring at the new. And so it was that I recognized that you hold in your hands my 800th attempt at filling 2 minutes of your day.

The last time I made a similar observation in this space was on the occasion of my 500th column. When I wrote that particular piece I received several notes from followers who said that as they read it they were afraid that I might be using the occasion to end the run. Admittedly, since it was a half-dozen years ago, I remember it as "afraid," though it's also quite possible that they used the term "thankfully" and I'm romanticizing it.

Well, that wasn't the case then, nor is it now. But a lot has happened in the intervening time, and indeed, since this riffing began. So maybe it's best to call this particular point a rest stop. And that means it's a chance to stand up, shake out the kinks and see how far we have come.

When I started this effort, I didn't really have any expectations of this kind of longevity. As someone with an attention span that considers TV commercials long form entertainment, I thought my run would be much more modest. I thought I'd write 20 or 30 columns, collect them, sell them as a book to a publisher, and the next call would be from Oprah. Fame and fortune and much merriment would ensue, and I would invite all you faithful readers to a party in some exotic yet safe place such as Baghdad. Seems I was wrong on so many fronts.

Not that I'm complaining. The space has enabled me to have an extended conversation with a wide range of people around the world. Through its appearance in the paper and via email, a rather diverse group of friends, family, associates, acquaintances, clients and some poor buggers who have gotten sucked into my orbit have been subjected to these weekly musings. Some have even seen fit to fire back, warming my heart that they have not only taken the time to read what I have written, but found it worthy of hitting the "reply" button, an act for which I am endlessly grateful.

To paraphrase the Grateful Dead, it has been a long and strange trip indeed. Faithful readers have learned about female crash test dummies (#155 "Hit Her Again"), cruises for geeks (#254 "The Code Boat") and electronic passports (#583 "Marked Man"). There have been reflections on happy occasions, such as the graduation of our oldest from college (#705 "Dear Matthew") as well as sad ones, like the death of my father (#644 "Leave Footsteps, Take Memories"). Still other weeks have taken on sports (#590 "Mad In March"), food (#737 "Salad Days") and even Santa Claus (#316 "State of Alert").

To be sure, not every attempt at enlightenment may tickle your fancy, or, to be perfectly honest, even mine. Columns I write which I think are brilliant may garner no response, while others where I feel like I've phoned it in may generate a lot of mail. Yet, rarely a week goes by that someone doesn't remark to me that what I wrote struck a chord for them. Whenever I think that perhaps my editor and you dear readers have had enough, that small bit of reinforcement has been enough to keep me going. So blame those earnest souls if you must blame someone.

For those of you still here, who have either been with me from the beginning and gotten caught up in the undertow along the way, many thanks for taking the ride. But now it's time to get back into the car. I'll repeat what I wrote on the occasion of my 500th: if you'll keep reading, I'll keep writing. I can only promise you that I'll try and keep my eyes and ears open, use all 26 letters where possible, and bring a smile to your face at least once a week. Our destination may be unknown, we may even be lost, but I can tell you this: we're making very good time.


Marc Wollin of Bedford invites all to a party on the occasion of his 1000th column. Make sure to put 2013 on your calendar. Until then, you can read more regularly in The Record-Review, The Scarsdale Inquirer and online at

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