May 21—On a recent chilly evening, I expressed my admiration for the Head of the Household.
She had spent the afternoon soaking in as much heat and light as she could, chasing sun patches as they meandered across the carpet. Now, she was stretched out on her beloved sheet of packaging paper — stretching her paws toward me, treating her back to the warmth of the fireplace.
"How do you do it?" I asked her, admonishing myself for using far too many gerunds.
"Do what?" she responded in a tone that suggested I already had said too much.
How could she, I wondered, spend all day napping and eating and not worrying about the fate of humanity, or even if there were rain in the forecast.
"Believe me," she said, "it's much easier than it looks. ... So easy, in fact, that even you could do it."
We'll see about that, I told her — because we're about to find out.
This week marks the final installment of this column, as this dinosaur jockey rides off into the sunset after a career as an ink-stained wretch that began in 1979 — with 20 of the final 23 of those years being blabbering and bloviating (blast, those gerunds!) from the pages of the Mail Tribune.
"Get Off My Lawn" is retiring as well, going the way of "The Fourth Wall" ... and "Rogue Viewpoint" ... and "The Little White Dot" ... and — if you remember this one, you really should seek professional help — "Pop Vortex."
There was even a brief period of time during that I was one of the rotating contributors to "Southern Oregon Journal" ... which, you'll be relieved to hear, isn't going anywhere as long as there are backroads for my Sunday stablemate Peggy Dover to traverse.
For me, though, the road ends today.
You hang around this business for more than four decades — longer if you count my days as a 12-year-old stuffing the comics and fliers into the Sunday edition of the Cape Cod Times — and you find yourself writing more than a few farewell pieces.
My first one was back in 1982 — as though anyone would care what a 25-year-old leaving his first job as a columnist had to say.
Heck, I've even written a farewell piece in the Mail Tribune before — back in 2014, when the previous ownership thought the best way to improve newspapers was to significantly reduce staff ... while simultaneously instituting a goal of reaching something they ominously called "The Inner Circle."
What was The Inner Circle? No one was ever quite sure; we only knew that there were nine levels to reach the bottom of the circle ... and we each were given a personalized handbasket.
I read that column the other day, and all I could say afterward was ... what in the name of the Flying Spaghetti Monster was I thinking? Didn't I realize that eventually I'd be back to getting lost in the hallways and stairwells of 111 N. Fir St.?
Blame it on my apparently lifelong fascination and/or addiction to the hunting, gathering and sharing of information — a genetic malfunction activated long before it dawned on a kid trying to figure out which way the wind was blowing as he sat tied to the clothesline pole that you could spell "NEWS" by looking at the weather vane.
I've reached the stage now, though, where a certain-something is missing.
Boredom? Frustration? Sadness at the ways of the world, the state of the state, the mess that is the media? Been there, done that ... what else you got?
Cynicism? Well, as Lily Tomlin said when Jane Wagner went looking for signs of intelligent life in the universe, "No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up."
And they said that back in 1985, when I was in-between the farewell column I wrote at 25 and the one I would write at 30.
I once worked with a reporter who called in sick with an "intense bout of ennui" — and now, more mornings than not, I know how he felt.
So, while there are legions who deserve thanks, starting with anyone who has bothered to read my blabbering and bloviationing lo these many years, my thoughts are focused on how I'll put words together from this point forward — sometimes, perhaps, even in an order that makes sense.
For, goodness knows, as anyone and their cat will tell you, I'm not wired to keep my mouth shut.
But that's for another day. At the moment, though, I think I'll take my cue from the Head of the Household and stretch out on the living-room rug.
... for tomorrow may rain, so I'll follow the sun.
Former Mail Tribune editor and columnist Robert Galvin can be reached in retirement at firstname.lastname@example.org.