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Column: Andy, Watch Out!

By Rebecca Burk / L’Observateur / January 21, 1998

A co-worker and I were recently discussing our salary compared to otherprint journalists, whose job seems ever so much easier than ours.

I can only imagine that famous syndicated columnists like Andy Rooneyand Dave Barry make a small sum more than those of us who have decidedthat community journalism is our forte.But, I suppose any journalist can write a column about paper clips or whatwe found in the garage when we cleaned it out last week.

So, here’s my attempt at being the next Andy Rooney. Hey, he’s gotta go onvacation sometime.

I have things at my desk that I have never used. Books are a big thing.I have a book on my desk titled, “On Writing Well,” by William Zinsser. Ifyou’re a writer you probably know what book I’m talking about.

I had to buy it for a journalism class in college, but never finished it. Notbecause it wasn’t a good book, though. I guess I just had better things todo in college than read a book for class. Really.

So when I brought my stuff to the office when I was hired, I suppose Ithought it would look nice on my desk. But again, I have yet to finishreading it, much less even pick it up.I don’t know what I was thinking. Maybe spare time would pose anopportunity for me to finish the book. Yeah, right. Spare time.

And it’s not only books that I don’t use. The desk drawers are crammedwith hand-me-down school board papers and notes which were turned overto me from the reporter who covered the education beat before me. Ihaven’t looked at those, either. I’m too busy with current stuff to get thetime to delve back into the old happenings of the River Parishes schoolboards.

My Rolodex is filled with names and numbers from people in college thathave long since moved. I don’t know their new numbers or even where theyare living.

Do I clean it out or even update it? I don’t even have to answer that onefor you.

But the best is messages. You know the kind you get that say “While YouWere Away” at the top of them. I have a stack of those in one of my deskdrawers. Don’t ask me why I save them. Some are so cryptic that I willnever figure them out again.

I have enough staples in here to last me until 2010 at least. Maybe longer.One more thing. I found a bag of suckers from Halloween that I brought tothe office to share with my co-workers. I guess I forgot to share thembecause they’re still here.

I have a bottle of Ibuprofen that I actually use, ink pens lacking ink that Idon’t use and note pads filled with notes that I can’t decide whether tokeep or ditch.

So, watch out, Andy Rooney. With me around, if you decide to go onvacation, 60 Minutes may just decide you can’t return.

Rebecca Burk is a regular columnist with L’Observateur.

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