A column by Gary Webster
Why is what I'm about to do called a "swan song?"
Why am I bringing up a topic for another essay when I'm composing my last one?
I began writing monthly essays for this website shortly after the turn of the millennium. After 15 years, the time has come for me to move along to other writing pursuits. Preferably, pursuits people will read and I'll get paid for. After all, if Dave Barry, the man made the comic essay big business, can retire, so can I.
I think it's appropriate at this time to take a look back at what I consider to be the finest work I submitted to this website. May I immodestly state that, with some 300 essays to choose from, the task of selecting "The Best of Webster On the Web" wasn't easy. But if you've read most, or all, of my monthly submissions, I think you'll agree that this handful of contributions represents my most brilliant work.
If I should be fortunate enough to spend the rest of my life writing, I seriously doubt that I'll be able to top the essay I wrote about the two divorced men, one neat to a fault and the other an incurable slob, who decided to share an apartment and proceeded to drive each other crazy. Wait a minute. That wasn't an essay. That was a play. And I didn't write it. I wish I had. I'd have money I'll never live to spend. And I'd see my name on the TV screen when I watch the reruns, of which I have 107 tape.
Okay, forget that false start. I recall fondly the essay I wrote about the crusty old sea captain who was obsessed with harpooning the great white whale. Making that essay realistic was quite a chore, considering my entire seafaring experience consists of a couple of trips from Sandusky to Kelley's Island on the Goodtime 3. And we didn't even encounter the legendary Lake Erie Monster. Now that I think about it, that wasn't one of my essays, either. It was a book. A book I've never read. What do I care about some crazy old man who wants to stick a fork into a whale that could swallow him as an appetizer before devouring his whole crew?
Here's one you probably remember: my classic essay about nothing. It was the story of a bunch of unusual people who bummed around New York City and spent most of their time in a restaurant drinking coffee and planning how they'd do nothing again the next day. One guy kept asking the question "what's up with that?" Another guy with a crazy haircut was constantly running into rooms like a chicken minus its head. Those were a couple of classic characters, if I do say so myself. Come to think of it, that wasn't one of my essays, either. That was a TV show.
Oh, yes, I do remember one really great essay I submitted to this website. It was the story of the girl with the dog in the picnic basket who was being chased by a nasty old battle-axe on a bicycle. She gets a bump on the head and thinks she's gone to a magical place where everything is green, including the old battle-axe who finds an army of flying monkeys and oh, that's also not one of my essays.
Copyright © 2017 by Gary Webster
Gary Webster is a northeast Ohio radio personality and freelance writer who enjoys looking on the light side of things. His plays, skits, and essays explore the topics of the day with insight and humor.