After this column, I am going to take a short leave of absence from writing. Six weeks to be exact. Sorry. I'd like to be one of these perfect Cal Ripken kinda guys who shows up every single day, no matter what, but I have to take care of some shit on my end and there's no getting around it.
Don't worry, it's nothing tragic like my wife is leaving me or the fungus on my penis has spread to my brain. No, it's just that the small rental property my brother and I own needs an extensive amount of remodeling completed in a short period of time and I must focus all my energies toward that project lest we go spiraling toward the abyss of financial devastation.
Please ignore any suspicions you have that this is the beginning of the end of Sordid Tales. Not true. This is not a permanent leave. I wouldn't do it if it weren't necessary. And when I come back, I'm gonna come back blazing. Indeed, I have spoken to my editor and he assures me CityBeat will hold my spot, and for that I am utterly grateful. [Editor's note: We shall see, Ed, we shall see. Mwa-ha-ha-ha.]
I really don't know what I'd do without my column. Even as I write this, I'm thinking, Holy Christ! What am I gonna do with myself for six weeks? But then I remember, Oh yeah, I'll be sanding and painting and grinding and sawing and pounding and bending and sealing and lifting, and loathing every minute of it.
I'd rather be writing.
Although I will say this: I'm looking forward to the break from Sordid Tales. The thing about writing a weekly column is, you're always working on it. Even when you're not working on it, you're working on it. Especially if you haven't chosen a topic yet. Choosing a topic is the hardest part. Writing is easy. Once you find a quality topic that you believe in, you can write until the cows go back out again. It's finding a topic that's hard. I'm incapacitated by a fear of picking the wrong one. I mean, the topic is the most crucial part of the column and if you pick an inane one-well, let's just say you don't want to do that twice in a row.
The deadline for Sordid Tales is Friday. If I don't have a topic selected by Monday night, I become concerned. If I don't have a topic by Tuesday, I worry. If by Wednesday I still don't have a column idea, I go into panic mode. Not because I can't finish a column in two days, it's just that by then, whatever topic I choose, I pretty much have to stay with it. By Thursday I'm locked in. There is no wriggle room on Thursday. On Thursday there is no time for a major remodeling. You gotta go with what you have.
In this way, deadlines are a cunt from Hell.
For instance, if you realize on Thursday night that your angry editorial about the tragically short lifespan of the whirligig beetle isn't quite the grabber you had hoped for, well, you can't change it now! Not unless you've got a pile of blow and a shitload of Motorhead on your iTunes.
This is the main reason for my hiatus. I just won't have time to find topics. I'm pretty much going to be waking at 7 in the morning, working until sundown, cleaning up, eating dinner, then passing out by 10 p.m. completely drained. There's no going on adventures, getting drunk, taking trips, meeting people or any of that other stuff one needs to do to find fodder for a weekly column.
I thought maybe I could write some columns about the remodeling project. You know, forcibly extracting existential metaphors and sociopolitical microcosms from a bottle of grout sealer-but that would just be cruel to anyone who accidentally reads them.
The point I'm getting at is, I'm going to enjoy my emancipation from the great hamster wheel of topic-finding. Even if I accidentally think of a column topic-well, I'll just plain ignore it. Like, if a column idea hits me while I'm eating breakfast at the Village Kitchen, I'm not going to bother the waitress for pen and paper. Or if an idea hits me while I'm driving on I-5, I'm not going to write it out on my hand while I swerve across the freeway clipping vehicles along the way. And the next time I wake up from a dream during which I conceive what seemed like a brilliant topic, I will not be getting out of bed in the middle of the night to find a pen and pad and write it down, only to wake up the next morning red-eyed to find a note on the nightstand that says something inane like, "Write column about drinking moonbubbles on Planet Gorgon."
Oh, sweet freedom.
Six weeks of not asking myself who gives a rat's ass about this or that topic. Six weeks of not laboring over such minutiae as whether the sentence should be written like this. Or whether the sentence should be written as such. Six whole weeks and I wish I could be your Baltimore Oriole, but, really, I have some shit to take care of.
Incidentally, in my absence, CityBeat has agreed to republish some of my vintage columns. I'll be selecting some of my favorites, mostly from back in the SLAMM era when it was a bartender column. A sort of greatest hits, if you will. I hope you'll still like me when I come back.
Ed Decker will be guest bartending Monday, June 6, at O'Connell's (1310 Midway Drive) when the Brother Decker plays guitar in his band The Ruined (kind of a Modest Mouse meets Black Sabbath thingy).