The Fat Lady Sings, Off-Key, Drools
At about this time every year, like
the swallows to Capistrano or the
buzzards to Hinckley, Ohio, the WORD
migrates to its summer musing grounds
at the sanitarium —St. Mumbles
Home for the Terminally Verbose.
The reason is clear, and never moreso
than as this season —the WORD's
13th —peters out.
It's been a fraught year of high palaver
and eye-popping transition, both good
and not-so-much. An interminable presidential
campaign saga finally did end, and
in extraordinary and historic fashion.
Meanwhile, the bottom and everything
that's below the bottom fell out of
the economy, with families, homes,
entire industries and —of particular
interest to WORDsters and the civic-minded
—dozens of daily newspapers
("I don't so much mind that newspapers
are dying--it's watching them commit
suicide that pisses me off."
--Molly Ivins). . . all evaporating.
What replaces them, from the individual
to the institutional to the societal?
Are we looking at a future of in-depth
As any newsperson or firehorse knows,
it's hard to turn your back on day-to-day
catastrophe --we just have to look
at the car wreck. But even the most
deranged and driven need a rest. As
philosopher Lilly Tomlin once observed,
"No matter how cynical you become,
it's never enough to keep up."
So this morning, as a near-frost hovered
over northern Utah, the unmarked van
pulled into the driveway and the gentle,
soft-spoken men in the white coats
rolled the WORD out of bed and into
a straitjacket for the usual summer
trip to St. Mumbles, where the blathering
one will be assigned a hammock and
fed soothing, healthy foods --like
tapioca, dog biscuits and salmon --while
recharging the essential muscles of
cynicism, outrage, sarcasm, social
engagement and high-mindedness, in
preparation for the next edition.
Summer well, friends.
up! Comment on the WORD at
and suggestions--printable and otherwise--always
welcome. "There are no false