Writing a column for far too long, this one since January 1984 or over 34 years, from the predecessor publication of this one (Business Day) with a short gap between papers, at various frequencies but mostly three times a week, and since November 2017 (upon the publisher’s request for unknown reasons) cut back to twice weekly — Tuesdays and Fridays (the sorrowful mysteries of the rosary), there is a time when one just has to write 30 (I wrote that previously too, in case my attention is called) for the Fence Sitter.
So, this will be my last piece and I assure my opinion editor that this will not be recycled for the future as there is no more forthcoming for this corner.
When asked quite often (or maybe not that often) where I get my topics to write about, I always reply that just like conversation with friends, there will always be something to talk about. And, here’s the rub. Is there at some point a topic or topics talked about too often or too frequently, almost all the time? Is it a sign of dotage anyway that the older one gets, the more he repeats his stories, maybe even the same punch lines?
If sometimes (lots of times?) the pieces sound familiar, maybe it’s because I’ve written them already in some shape or form, although I must plead on my behalf that these were all from the same hand — mine. But, I guess, editorial recycling is only a few notches below outright plagiarizing when it comes to sins that cry out to heaven for vengeance, in the publishing trade.
While conversations take place with different people, allowing repetition not only to be possible, but also inevitable — did I tell you this before? Or was it in another country with another wench? Christopher Marlowe in the Jew of Malta even posits in that paraphrase of a quote the wench’s demise.
Of course, friends who repeat themselves are quickly forgiven but not before being reminded that they’ve told that story before. Editors too have that prerogative. In fact, sometimes the story came from the one you’re telling it too. Isn’t that worse than re-gifting (That’s the new term for recycling) to the original giver. Yes, I wrote about that as well.
Our favorite topics, which a few find light-hearted, even hilarious at times, occupy a whole range of interests, mostly economics of the behavioral kind (this is after all a business paper) but also diet fads, office politics, hirings and firings, the uselessness of consultants, politics (sometimes, but always without names) and spiritual matters like humility and envy. There may be other reactions to current news of road rages, digital rants, and bank frauds. Anyway, as in conversations, nothing is thrown away… or picked up.
The word count of this column is usually 700. But since this is the last piece, I do not have to adhere to this rule and this is indeed shorter. Goodbyes need to be succinct as the song “Tell me on a Sunday” instructs — no long faces, no long looks, no deep conversation.”
So here it is — goodbye.
A. R. Samson is Chairman and CEO, TOUCH xda.