Kernel of idea for a column doesn't always fully pop

October 01, 2002|By SUSAN REIMER

PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS telling me they have a great idea for a column, when what they actually have is a great first paragraph for a column.

I am always polite, but what I really want to say is: "Yeah? Great. And who is going to write the rest of that column?"

The truth is, some of my column ideas are only one paragraph long, too.

I have these thoughts that never really take shape. Columns that never get beyond the first paragraph. Columns that are really just bumper stickers or sound bites or epitaphs.

Enough of these demi columns, these column-ettes, have accumulated that I may be able to string together one regular-sized column.

However, if I am wrong, keep those column ideas coming.

My daughter thinks I should write a column about how Jennifer Lopez was dating P. Diddy and is now cuddling with Ben Affleck.

I have to admit, I am impressed with the woman's range, vocal and otherwise. She went from a gun-toting tough-guy rapper to sweet-smiling boy from working-class Boston living the Hollywood dream.

I told my daughter that there is nothing new under the sun, and that Mia Farrow already did this. She went from Frank Sinatra to Woody Allen, with a stop at Andre Previn in between.

My girlfriends want me to write about the courage of Jamie Lee Curtis, who appeared unadorned in More, the magazine for older women.

Excuse me, but when you look like Jamie Lee Curtis - even without make-up - it doesn't take courage. Me in my underwear in More magazine? That would take courage.

My friend Susan thinks I should write a column about Robert Downey Jr. appearing in the print ads for Skechers. The guy who has made rehab a lifestyle choice is pitching the shoes most favored by our middle school kids!

But I am so disgusted, I can't bring myself to give Downey any more ink.

My husband wants me to write a column about how watching reruns of Law & Order is the best preparation for dealing with teen-agers.

You can watch back-to-back episodes on cable almost anytime, night or day. I know, because my husband does. But he says it has improved his skills as a parent.

"Start asking teen-agers about where they were and what they were doing," he says, "and you can be pretty sure it will be at least an hour before you get anything close to the truth.

"The only thing missing is the crime scene tape."

My husband also thinks I should write a column about the fact that Tiger Woods said in a television interview that Ryder Cup captain Curtis Strange was edgy because "it might be his time of the month."

He thinks I should be outraged at Woods' insensitivity toward women.

But my friend Betsy thinks I should write a column saying that Tiger Woods clearly knows something not enough men know, and that is, how to recognize when it is time to stay the heck out of a woman's way.

"If more men knew that, it would be a better world," Betsy says.

When I read the news McDonald's is being sued on behalf of two fat kids whose lawyer has accused the food chain of enticing them to consume large portions with "Value Meal" advertisements, I decided I wanted to write a column.

I thought I would say that the manufacturer of my refrigerator and the entire country of Italy would not be safe from me as soon as I found the right lawyer.

But I decided that when it comes to food, if not columns, sometimes the best thing to do is keep your mouth shut.

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