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Op-Ed: Story Over a Cup – Some assembly may be required

Michael Cole
Story Over A Cup

Mark Twain once said, “Writing is easy, you just mark out all the words you don’t need.”

I prefer to think of writing as assembling a piece of furniture.

Made by IKEA, with the instructions written in Japanese and you do not have the right screwdriver.

I guess, I go a bit to the extreme in this. After all, writing is not a difficult task for me, it is just a time management problem.

In a groove, I can belt out a thousand words in under an hour.

Unfortunately, I am never in a groove when I desperately need it.

I stare at the lovely shade of white on the blank word document.

And right when that nugget of inspiration hits me, I hear growling and barking.

It is almost as if Roswell can sense that nugget and wants to chase it. Or has to go to the bathroom. Or just the fates have decided to interrupt me.

This day was no different. I decided that today I will get this column finished early, well before the deadline. So, (oops, cannot use the word anymore, my editor has said I have used, or overused the word well into my next life. And I am under penalty of death if I ever use the word, “that.”) I set the alarm extra early.

(Editor’s note: Technically, and for the record, I said he is banned from ever using the words ‘So’ or ‘that’ again.)

My cell phone battery died overnight.

I was awoken by 16 paws walking on me.

Notice I said me. They are smart enough to understand the certain death of waking my wife.

Fed and walked, I sat down in front of my computer. I reach for my coffee cup.

Forgot to make coffee.

Darn it to heck!

I muse over topics while the coffee brews. A study of the period of German idealism after Kant? Why the Holy Roman Empire was neither Holy, Roman, nor an Empire?

Why a coffee maker always seems to take so long when I am in a hurry?

Well, coffee in hand, I sit down again.

My mind is blank.

And suddenly I am inspired. I begin to type.

My wife calls out, “Did you forget your check-up?”

I hang my head in defeat. The inspiration is gone.

So, I am sitting in the waiting room desperately trying to assemble an article in my mind.

(Editor’s note: See how he snuck in another So into this column? Twice in one column after being banned.)

I grab a magazine hoping to gather inspiration from the current magazines out on the waiting room table.

Hmmm, according to Time, Carter will have a tough time beating off Reagan this November.

No luck there.

Finally, I am home and I sit in front of the computer, no inspiration.

When out of the blue, the wife bellows, “My desk is here! Are you ready to help me put it together?”

Huh? Together?

She points to the boxes, “Yes, some assembly required.”

Tell me about it.

Michael Cole is a syndicated columnist that when he is not writing, he is plotting global domination and ridding the world of the words so and that. You can follow him at www.storyoveracup.com