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Robbins: Ad libbing, fibbing my way through column

POSTED: March 17, 2014 1:00 a.m.

I don’t watch television much, according to this week’s column.

But one program I make time for between reading dictionaries and textbooks is “Downton Abbey.” During commercial breaks of that program, I often find myself enjoying the Sonic advertisements where two men sit in a car and talk about offerings from the restaurant. From what I understand, the two actors “improvise” those commercials; meaning, they don’t act off a script or have any type of pre-planning. They just “wing it,” as they say in France.

Comedians often use this devise as well. And, today, newspaper columnists.

This is the first improvisational column of all time, from what my dictionaries, textbooks and “Downton Abbey” tell me. I will not do any research for this, plan prior as to what I’m writing, or plagiarize off one of Dave Barry’s old columns, as I usually do.

I will simply write “off the cuff” and type whatever pops in my mind, as I usually do.

You, as the reader of this historical experiment, are a part of this exercise as well. I would appreciate you staying on to the end. There will be a door prize, or not.

One of the devices I often use in my columns is lying. I have already lied seven times in this column. Please read back and figure out which statements are lies and which are truth. I’ll wait while you do that.

OK, now that you’re back with me, this column is being written in “real time,” just like that show “24,” except that this column is improvised and not scripted. And it’s not about a guy played by Keifer Sutherland who never sleeps and is always trying to solve a terrorist plot, which I’ve done a couple of times (it’s really not as difficult as they make it out to be on TV).

By “real time,” I mean that as you are reading this, it’s taking the exact same amount of time for me to type it, unless you read very slow or very fast. I type about 40 words a minute, so pace yourself accordingly.

One thing I’ve already found about improvising my column in “real time” is that it prompts run-on sentences, like this one is about to be unless I stop here. Sorry. I’m trying to keep up with the fast reader in my readership. To that guy: Please slow down. My grandmother once told me that reading too quickly would hurt your eyes. I’m pretty sure she was lying (apparently, it’s hereditary), but, please, for the sake of the other reader, slow down so I won’t have to go so quickly.

Thanks. Anyway, as I was saying, I accidently ate a box of crayons this morning. My grandmother once told me that eating crayons would cause drain bamage, but I really didn’t trust much of what she said (see “reading too fast” anecdote, 55 seconds ago), other than that part she said about kissing cats giving you trench mouth. I had no idea what “trench mouth” was, or is, but it sounded rather scary, so I refrained (mostly) from kissing cats.

So at this point, I am starting to realize that improvising a newspaper column is way more difficult than foiling terrorist plots. Usually, I get to edit, rewrite, take a nap, watch funny animal videos on YouTube, then get someone else to write my column. It takes at least 30 minutes. This has taken about two (five if you’re my slow reader. Hi, Mom).

History, though, goes at its own pace. And you have been a part of it, which is your door prize. Thank you, congratulations, and apologies.

Len Robbins is editor and publisher of the Clinch County News in Homerville. His column appears weekly.


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