Opinion: Funny things about Washington …


I am going to a get-together of the folks who worked on my college newspaper, The Hatchet, in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s at The George Washington University. As I reread some of my stuff almost 55 years later, I realized my writing then wasn’t really very good. My journalism teacher said my column was sophomoric, which I took as a compliment because I was only a freshman at the time.

All those attending submitted a brief summary of what he or she has accomplished since graduating. I was a little intimidated by some of these, but I also thought many had rambled on and not stuck to the suggested length of 500 words. I opted for brevity. The sign of a good humorist is being succinct. Here’s my employment history in a few words:

  • Hired
  • Fired
  • Hired
  • Fired
  • Rehired
  • Fired again
  • Hired
  • Retired

In my bio, I did mention that I had recently been elected to the Indiana Broadcasters Hall of Fame. I wanted my GW friends to know this as soon as possible. I was concerned that by the time I got to the reunion, they might take back the award.

My friend Seth has visited 46 countries, enjoying all the different cultures based on his interest in anthropology. Another classmate became an executive editor of the Chicago Sun Times. The more I read these mini resumes, the more I knew that being a goofy field reporter and a humor columnist was not going to get me selected to address the group on the topic: How I changed the world.

By the way, I saw an old girlfriend from back in the ‘60s on the invitee list who I hadn’t seen or heard from in 55 years. I sent her an email telling her I hoped she was coming to the reunion.

“I’m sure I will recognize you after all these years,” I told her.

“I bet you will,” came the response. “I’m still 6-foot-2 with a full-length beard.”

I had sent the email to Seth by mistake.

Just a final note. Ten years ago, a similar reunion was held. My wife and I were excited to return to Washington, D.C., for a visit. I made the hotel arrangements, which I seldom do because I always mess something up. A week before the trip, Mary Ellen asked me to confirm the reservations and to be sure we were near The White House, a site we planned to visit, and close to the restaurant where the reunion dinner was to be held. I called.

“I’m just confirming our rooms and I wanted to know how far we are from The White House,” I said.

“About 3,000 miles,” the hotel clerk said.

I had booked a hotel in the state of Washington.