I feel that I must apologize. I”ve been writing this column for nearly two months and I”ve never really bothered to introduce myself.
Well, here goes. My name is Lindsey and I”m a Weekend Etc. columnist for the Daily. I”m in this strange world of having an opinion, writing whatever I want and not having to interview anybody. The thing is though, does anyone ever really think what it”s like being a columnist?
Let”s start with the parents. I have very caring and involved parents who like to know what”s going on in my life. They also happen to be slightly Internet savvy. Thus, whatever I write, they read.
When I was chosen to write a column, I remember sitting at dinner one night with my family, who expressed interest in reading my work. They”re going to read it? Well shit. How can I write about sex, alcohol, or even swear when I know they”re going to be reading this?
Imagine your old Aunt Helga staring confusedly at the newspaper. “How does she know so much about sex?” “Does she drink a lot?” “Lindsey doesn”t ever swear, she”s a sweet girl.” Yikes!
Then there”s the issue of picking a topic. Suddenly everyone has an opinion about what to write. Everyone turns into backseat columnists.
“Why do they call you a guest when you go shopping at Target? If you”re paying, you”re not a guest?”
“Why do people have to push the “up” button of the elevator, when it”s already lit?” (That always pisses me off.)
“You know, the elections are interesting, you should write about the elections.” That topic”s not at all overdone.
One of my relatives who wanted me to write about some club her high-school son was involved with. I didn”t know how to respond so I just smiled and nodded. Why anyone at the University would care at all is beyond me.
But let me tell you, it”s not just the family. Friends can be just as bad, especially when they”re drunk. “You should write an observation column about columns that make observations.”
And then, “You should write about drinking. Everyone would read it. Or what about writing about blacking out? We could be guest columnists.”
One of the stupidest ideas I got was to write a square-off piece between the XFL Cheerleaders and the Man Show Juggies. Um, yeah.
There are other factors besides the topic. People actually read this stuff (at least I”d like to think so). This means that anything I write can be read by anyone. Not just my friends and family, but professors, potential employers, ex-boyfriends and just about anyone else.
If I wanted to write about some aspect of my personal life, all of these people would be reading it. I imagine it would be similar to an actress doing a nude scene in a movie. She probably wouldn”t really care about all of the nameless, faceless strangers who viewed the flick, but would think twice if she knew her friends and family would be watching her boobs on a fifty foot screen.
Columns are a piece of you, of your thoughts and emotions. When your boyfriend breaks up with you, and you have to write a Valentine”s Day column, your deadline is still there. When you”re falling behind in school, or need to study for tests, you still have to make time to write your column. Even when it seems like your world is falling apart, the column must go on.
And thus the column has gone on this week. It”s withstood writer”s block, mountains of school work and a lack of motivation to once again grace the pages of Weekend, Etc.
Lindsey Alpert can be reached at email@example.com.