I have an announcement. Effective immediately, “Sordid Tales” will be a biweekly, rather than weekly, column. It's a decision I've been agonizing over for a few months now, and am confident this is the right decision at the right time.
The first thing one must discern when contemplating going biweekly is to figure out what the criminy biweekly even means. I always get confused by the word “biweekly” and its counterpart, “semiweekly.” I know one means “twice a week” and the other means “every two weeks,” but I can't remember which is which.
So I finally researched it.
After checking three dictionaries and visiting numerous websites, it seems I'm not the only person befuddled by the term. Seems there is some confusion among scholars and lexicographers also. Apparently, “biweekly” means both “twice a week” and “every other week.”
Which is just plain stupid.
It's this kind of word ambiguity that misses the point of having language in the first place. Why on earth would anyone give “biweekly” two such mutually exclusive meanings? There's no such duality about the meaning of “semiweekly.” “Semiweekly” means “twice a week” and that's that. Done. Boom. No mixed messages. No wondering. So, why the scholars and lexicographers can't just go ahead and make “biweekly” mean only “every other week,” especially since “semiweekly” has the “twice a week” thing all sewn up, is beyond me. Look how much time I've wasted trying to convey that when I say my column is going biweekly, I mean the “every other week” biweekly.
Anyway, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking the reason I'm going biweekly is because I'm running out of ideas.
Ideas are not the problem. The problem is I'm getting fat. No, scratch that. I'm already fat. The problem is I'm fat and I'm quickly becoming the fattest person I know. Every party, every bar, every gathering I attend, I look around the room trying to locate the people who are fatter than me, and they keep getting harder and harder to find. And the reason fatter people than me are getting harder to find is because I don't have any goddamn time: No time to get to the gym, or ride a bicycle, or walk on the beach.
I know what you're thinking. You are thinking, What's so time-consuming about a little, 950-word column?
Writing a weekly column is like being on a hamster wheel. For every column you read, I threw away four. It's a literary hamster wheel of despair:
1. Find topic.
2. Research topic.
3. Write first draft.
4. Toss draft in garbage.
I can't count the times I've worked all night on something that seemed acceptable, only to wake up the next morning to realize under the cruel light of day that what I had written was so bad it didn't even belong in the office garbage can with other discarded documents and pages. No, this thing belonged in the kitchen garbage, stained with grease and coffee grinds and buried beneath the skeleton of a ravaged half-chicken.
Then it's back to the scribblin' board: Find, research, write, toss. Find, research, write, toss-over and over again until, before I know it, it's the day before deadline and there's nary a topic to be found.
Then-voila!-it'll come to me. I'll compose this totally original angle about a topic everyone's talking about. Like maybe a controversy is raging over a religious sect of albino monks who practice foot-binding and are trying to force their foot-binding ways into the mainstream. Of course, everyone in the country is saying, “Just say no,” to albino foot-binding, so I come up with this totally original angle about how foot-binding is actually good for society and that we should welcome foot-binding. I'll work on it all night because deadline is in the morning.
Then, after finishing the final edit, I'll go out into the living room to watch some TV before bedtime, and here comes Bill freaking Maher on his Real Time monologue, talking about how albino foot-binding is totally great for society and if he had his way we'd all be foot-binders, and I'll glare at Bill on the television, wondering how I might reach into the screen with my hands and thumbfuck his eye sockets. Because my totally original take has just become obsolete, and it's back to the hamster wheel of despair: Find, research, write, toss, and find, research, write, toss, and-I know what you're thinking.
You're thinking, Great story, Ed-but tell the truth. You're out of ideas, aren't you? This is the beginning of the end of “Sordid Tales” isn't it?
No. I swear. I'm not out of ideas. I've got a folder on my hard drive called “Sordid Ideas” that contains exactly 568 Word files, each containing a column idea fleshed out to one degree or another. (Some of the working titles include: Fungus Gone! Reverse Eminent Domain. Debunking the Debunking of the Da Vinci Code. The McMarriage. I Love Advertising. I Have No Mouth But I Must Barf. My I Hate Jesus Hat. Dogging the Wag. Hookers at the Taco Shop [A love story.])
So, no, it's not the beginning of the end for “Sordid Tales.” On the contrary. Slow and steady wins this race. Going biweekly will make “Sordid Tales” better and stronger and have more stamina. And that's how I want it, because, I swear, on my grandmother's grave, for as long as San Diego will have me, I will continue writing this column with all the rage and horror and comedy I can muster. Stay tuned. Please.
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and editor@SD citybeat.com.