Good or bad, this column is out of here

ROGER SIMON

February 21, 1992|By ROGER SIMON

There are rumors going around that this is your last column.

That is true. This is the last time you will see me on this page.

One rumor says you were fired for incompetence and another says you were caught stealing Magic Markers out of the supply closet. I have been a faithful reader for years and you don't seem bright enough to steal. So which rumor is true?

Neither rumor is true. Incompetence has never been a drawback when it comes to writing a column. And they'll never catch me stealing from the supply closet. I do it at night and I wear gloves.

So why are you leaving?

My column is leaving. I am staying.

Explain.

My column is moving up in the paper to the top of Page Two of the front section.

Why?

Many people found that it often took them 10 or 12 seconds to find my column in the paper and this made them frustrated and grumpy all day.

Now, all they have to do is turn a single page in order to find my column. And then they can be upset and grumpy all day.

What's the real reason?

My column deals with local, national, international and cosmic issues (such as finding the perfect pastrami sandwich.) So does the front section of the paper. It's a good match.

Are there special instructions for reading you on Page Two. Yes. You must deal with "bleed through" and "flop over."

Don't cattle sometimes die of those things?

Quite possibly. But in newspaper jargon bleed through occurs ++ when you open the paper against a bright light and try to read Page Two. The light shines (or "bleeds") through the paper and makes the type difficult to read.

What can I do about that?

Don't hold the paper up to a bright light, nitwit! Better yet, read my column in a dark room. It often reads better that way.

What's flop over?

Well, if you hold the page too far down when you open the paper, the upper left corner of the page flops over backwards, which will make it impossible to read the beginning of my column.

Would that make any difference?

Not really. I try to write my columns so you can start reading anywhere.

Any other changes?

Yes, the right hand margins of my column will be what's called "ragged right."

What is that?

Instead of the type lining up evenly like the column of type you are seeing now, the lines of type will be uneven or raggedy on the right-hand side.

What is the purpose of this?

None. We were just bored so we decided to do it. Next month we might print the entire column in Japanese just to see if anybody notices.

What else?

My column will no longer "jump", which means it will now be contained all on one page. So you will no longer have to turn the page to see how it ends.

I never did anyway.

Then you shouldn't notice much difference.

Will all this cost me any more?

No! We are doing all this for you at no increased price whatsoever. Which means that your daily newspaper is still cheaper, pound for pound, than cashews from room service.

Does Buchanan really have a chance?

No.

Will Good Roger and Bad Roger, Thor and Moe, Simon Says, the Roar of the Crowd and the other junk you pass off as journalism move to Page Two with you?

Yes. The content of the column will not change. Just because I am

moving to a much more serious and dignified section of the paper, this does not mean it will go to my head.

So what's your first Page Two column going to be about?

Canadian fiscal policy.

When are you moving to Page Two?

This Sunday. Read my lips: Sun. Day. Don't miss it or you won't know what people are yawning about on Monday.

Are your days in the paper going to change?

No. You will still find my column every Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. But we encourage you to buy the paper the other days of the week, too, just so you can have a complete set.

4 Where can I call to complain about your columns?

Dial 1-800-WHO-CARES.

So you move up in the paper and get to feel like a big deal, but what do the readers get out of it?

Below my column every day there will be advertising placed by a variety of fine merchants. What I'd like you to do is patronize these merchants and, when you do, be sure to say: "Roger Simon sent me!"

Will I get a discount?

No, but you will get the satisfaction of hearing them say: "Roger Simon who?"

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