Saturday, January 31, 2015

A Grand

It's finally here. I, for one, thought it might never come, given the distractions and detours that seemed intent on sidelining the event, making it seem hardly inevitable. But if you kept an eye on the calendar, and ticked off each week, there was no doubt that we were advancing at a steady pace. And then just when it seemed that it might really never happen, you turn around, and sweet God of Mercy, it's actually here.

The Super Bowl? Oh, that too. I understand from reliable sources that it's taking place in Arizona this weekend. No, I'm talking about the 1,000th edition of this column.

That's right, number one thousand. A kilo, a grand, a stack, one large, a bag of sand, a biscuit, a yard, call it what you will, it's a one followed by 3 zeroes. It's come at a steady pace every week, like Sherman marching through Georgia. A regular year has 52 weeks plus an extra day; in the leap version, you get an extra 2. So if you do the math, it means I've been at it for 19 turns of the calendar plus 10 additional weeks. You'll forgive me if I round it off to 20 years for the sake of this discussion.  

In that light, perhaps we should pause, take a collective deep breath, and ask where have we been, where are we now, and where might we be going. For starters, what has 20 years brought you and me? If you've been here from the beginning, you've traveled with me to places like Japan (#174 "I Had A Dream"), New Orleans (#529 "Ground Below Zero") and Russia (#777 "St. Petersburg 101"). We've eaten grilled lamb together in Omaha (#124 "Mideast meets Midwest"), noodles in Singapore (#358 "Eating in the Village") and hot chicken in Nashville (#994 "Hot, Hotter"). And we've met adoptees (#676 "Pasha & Nikita"), singers (#873 "From Here to Ethiopia") and even hula hoopers (#934 "Hooping the Night Away").

More often than not, however, we've looked at all the "stuff" that we otherwise might not think about at all. Usually it's not the headlines above the fold, nor even those found on page 32. One week it might be the names of sports teams ("#251 "Let's Go Lugnuts!"), while on another we might focus on public bathrooms (#496 "Separate, Not Equal"). We've looked at weight limits for boats (#805 "Tack to Port(ly)") and corporate anthems (#345 "Sing a Song of IBM"). And we've wondered about everything from perfume (#106 "The Nose Knows") to salad dressing (#205 "It's What's On Top That Counts") to freebies (#951 "The Joy of Swag").  

You might well ask what's the unifying theme here. It's simple: whatever catches my attention. Each week I try to pick something that normally would go in one eye and out the other, and dig a little deeper. Yes, it's writing, but it's also exploring, questioning, translating, wondering. The goal, if there is one, is to find something that interests me, and see if I can make it interest you. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but hopefully we've gotten on base more often than we've struck out, and maybe even hit the occasional home run.

As for next week? Well, next week we will get back to making fun of the foolish. Maybe we'll try to understand how naps and peanut butter cups are proof of a higher power. We'll see what connections we can draw between the mysterious ways that Congress works and how Taylor Swift dresses. I can only promise you what I have before: if you'll keep reading, I'll keep writing. 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.  

One last thing, however, before we continue: know how grateful I am for your attention and time, both of which are in short supply and high demand. As any reader of this space knows, I like to travel, be it in person or in my head. And it's a lot more fun to look out the window when you have someone with which to share the journey. So thanks for taking the ride with me. And now? Well, break's over: let's get back on the road.


Marc Wollin of Bedford never thought you or he would still be here. Thanks for sticking around. His column appears regularly in The Record-Review, The Scarsdale Inquirer and online at, as well as via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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