Opinion: Will work for meatloaf


After writing more than 1,000 weekly humor columns, I’m out of ideas. I told Mary Ellen there is nothing left to write about. I added that Dave Barry and Art Buchwald both had nervous breakdowns due to the pressure. That last part isn’t true, but my wife is not a Googler, so I may get away with it.

I wanted Mary Ellen to say something like, “Dick, you are creative. Don’t let a little writer’s block get you down. Something will come to you. It always does.”  Instead, I got, “Maybe you’re right. Just tell the newspapers you’re quitting.”  

When I was a kid and felt overwhelmed by Spanish or geometry, my mom would tell me I could do anything I put my mind to. Then she’d cook my favorite meatloaf dinner. Why can’t my wife treat me more like a child?

I decided to call Heidi, my proofreader. I knew she’d be more encouraging.

“Heidi, I can’t write another column,” I said. “I’m hanging it up. There are no more original ideas.”

“You’re right,” she said. “There’s probably nothing funny left to say. It’s been pretty obvious the last few weeks.”

“Wait a second. Aren’t you going to tell me that I’m incredibly prolific and I will eventually come up with a topic, just like I always have for 20 years? You must have something else to add.”

“Oh, yeah! Don’t forget to put that last check in the mail.”

I texted my sister in New York. Her response: “Oh, well, one less thing in my inbox each week. How’s the weather out there?”

Finally, I called my friend. Bob and his wife read my stuff every week. Cathy answered the phone.  I told her I had probably written my final column.

“Dick, give it time. Something will come to you. You have a great imagination. I know you can do it.”

“Wow, thank you, Cathy. That’s the kind of support I was looking for.”

“You’re welcome. Do you want to come over for dinner tonight? We’re having meatloaf.”