March 23, 1997
This week, I thought Iíd take the time to go over the process used in the creation of this column every week. So far, the response to this column has been, frankly, whelming. Iíd like to thank every family member who has written in with words of support. Itís nice that we communicate this way. I imagine my mom hearing from her friends, "So, Kathy, does that big-shot son of yours ever call, or write to you?" "Well, no, but he does write a column every week. He tells me to read that, instead." "Oh, how special. I wish my Ralphie would write a column to me!"
So anyhow, itís safe to say that every installment of this column is hand-crafted with the same Swiss precision that goes in to your finer watches and Army knives. (That is, if the Swiss procrastinate, surf the web, answer e-mail, fix a snack, then stare at a blank page for 10 minutes, wondering how to fill it up. Strangely, that is a pretty good technique for making a watch.)
Actually, I almost always have some ideas germinating in the back of my head. Itís picking the correct idea to turn in to a column thatís the hard part.
Take this weekís contenders. They are, in order:
1) That loud sound I just heard out my window while typing the preceding paragraph. It sounded like someone rapping on my window at first! I live in LA, itís 1:15 a.m., and people should not be rapping on my window. I jumped a foot in the air. (Okay, I didnít move. But my guts jumped a foot in the air.) I think it was a car driving with a really, really flat tire (it eventually receded in the distance), but how come it started up so suddenly? One of lifeís many mysteries.
2) I felt connected with two memorial services this weekend. This is odd, because scores of years have gone by since I last attended a memorial. One was for my (ex?) stepmother, the other for my best friendís grandmother. (I say "ex?" because Iím not sure of the genealogy here. I mean, she was my stepmother, but she and Dad got a divorce. Once a stepmother, always a stepmother? I have no idea.)
3) Whatís the deal with friends that you actively no longer talk to? By this, I mean to differentiate from friends youíve simply lost touch with; these are friends youíve made an active decision NOT to talk with. Are certain friendships casualties of the whole growing up process? Is there an acceptable number of friendship losses? I think not.
4) I saw Selena over the weekend. Having never known of her before her death (and subsequent referral in every news story as "slain Tejano superstar Selena"), I was surprised at how much the movie moved me. As an extreme Honky, I was certainly in the ethnic minority of those attending the Friday afternoon screening. It was interesting to me seeing how my fellow audience-members reacted to Selenaís story. After the film, I think we all felt exactly the same: What a terrible, tragic loss. Thatís good film making. For those of you who haven't figured it out, Selena's is a story that transcends ethic lines. Not that I didnít expect to be moved by her story; itís just that I had no idea who she was, or what she had come to represent before her death.
5) Miracle Baby update: She points and says "Colin" with a big smile every time she sees me, either in person or in a photograph. Thatís just about the coolest thing in the world.
6) In separate stories on tonightís (Sunday) newscast, one anchor referred to me by name, saying what a big Star Trek fan I was (preceding a story about the Trek convention in town); the other anchor later (after a showing of Shaquille OíNealís new Taco Bell commercial as an especially dubious part of our sportscast) talked about my love of Taco Bell, again referring to me by name. Iíd like this opportunity to publicly thank KCAL anchors Dave Clark and Gay Yee for making sure I never date again.
Anyhow, those are the ideas for this weekís column. None of them really strike my fancy right now. Maybe one of them will bloom into a column sometime in the future.