The end of the line ... or is it?

Ever since Tara Wendell announced the impending demise of the WBV Observer about a month ago, I have started virtually every morning with the intention of writing my last column for the Observer.

The classic procrastinator, I typically didn’t start a column until arriving home from work – usually exhausted – before I even thought up a title on deadline day. There were occasions when it seemed to be a good strategy, as at times I felt some of my better efforts came when I was teetering that fine line between my being vertical or horizontal.

Of course, “better effort” is an incredibly relative term, and my guess is that as it became later and later in the evening, my writing started to look better and better. Sometimes even Pulitzer-ish, if you will.

Waiting until the last minute did have some disadvantages, though. I remember one Friday evening when we were hit by a nasty thunderstorm and about 20 minutes after I had fired up the computer, suddenly – bzzzt! – the power went out. And it didn’t come back on until mid-morning the next day. (Since I then spent the “down time” bailing water as our sump pumps seemed to become very inefficient without 120V to keep them company, I couldn’t go elsewhere to compose my masterpiece.)

So, I had to let Tara know there would be no column due to “circumstances (very wet ones) beyond my control.” I probably would have been in a better place by dusting off and then paraphrasing the old “my dog ate my homework” line which worked so well in elementary school, junior high, high school, and – I’m not ashamed to admit – college. (Well, maybe I’m a little ashamed).

But, as my loyal reader(s) are painfully aware, I’ve once again strayed off target. The planned strategy behind writing a little bit every day would result in my Best. Column. Ever.

However, after about 30 seconds of painful (because thinking hurts) deliberation, I decided to write the same last-minute, ahem, “quality” content I’ve always spewed in the past so people won’t think Tara and Denny brought in a ghost writer to see the Observer off on a more positive note.

You know the one thing that always kept me calm after I’d fired off a “borderline quality” column to Tara was in knowing that there would always be the opportunity for redemption in a couple of weeks. I don’t have a redemption cushion with this column and it’s very disconcerting.

In all seriousness, I’m going to miss this paper. After a little more than a dozen years here, it’s become something of a family to me. Having read the columns of fellow Observer writers makes me feel like I know many of these folks, even if we haven’t met face-to-face.

With that said, I want to thank Tara and Denny for the wonderful opportunity they gave me to write for the Observer. It’s been a blast, and I appreciate the unwavering support for all these years! Just think, when I joined, Pat Shurmur was the Browns coach and Manny Acta the Indians manager. And people would ask where I got my subject matter from from…

Me? I’ve been retired the last calendar year and much of my time has been spent on consolidating a couple of vintage sport product websites I have, and I also want to get back into writing fiction, along with a couple of books I began years ago but simply were not doable with the normal 10 hours/day job I had up until retirement. And when you add my wonderful wife, Pat, our 3 kids, and our 8 grandkids to the mix, well, my friends, that’s called “job security!”

You know the saying, “When one door closes, another one opens.”  I’ve always been a firm believer in those words, so I don’t see this final Observer column as an “adios.”

I look forward to seeing you on the other side of that door.

Jeff Bing

Lifelong Westlake resident who dabbles in writing whenever the real world permits. My forte is humor and horror...What a combo!

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Volume 16, Issue 3, Posted 9:23 AM, 03.05.2024