The other night, I was struck by inspiration for the perfect column.
It was genius! It started with a great story as a hook, had the right relevant information, and closed with a salient point that would have changed even the most-stubborn mind.
Confident with my plan and having written it in my mind, I went to sleep. I was convinced, laying in my bed with my dog snuggled against me, that I had the whole column locked down.
I woke up, munched some breakfast, drank several cups of coffee, and I could not recall a single detail of that column other than the fact that it would have been award winning.
I got buried in laying out the remainder of my school’s yearbook, working nonstop to meet a deadline for Jostens that was my fault, really. I had agreed to shifting my school’s yearbook to a summer delivery when several COVID-related cancellations made making a March deadline impossible. Yet, when facing the summer-delivery deadline, I was confronted with not having a yearbook staff (they’re all graduated or off for the summer) and a fixed deadline. During that time, I was convinced that focusing my mental energy on the yearbook would passively resurrect that award-winning column.
Yeah, I was wrong.
Here I am, writing a column that is essentially a tribute to the column that I thought of while on the edge of sleep. I feel like I’m creating the small-town newspaper version of Tenacious D’s “Tribute.” (Google that if you’ve not heard it.) I’m reserving my column space to write about the column that I should have written but didn’t.
My wife, dad, and mother-in-law have all told me on several occasions that I should have a notepad by my bed so I could write down these ideas. Most of the time, when I think of ideas, they aren’t that memorable. I forget about them by the time I wake up, so it’s no big deal. This time, I realized that my family was right. I wasn’t particularly tired that night, nor was I impaired in any way except that I had gone to bed, so the idea I had that night might have actually been a good one! Too bad it’s completely gone now.
I wonder how many other good ideas faded away in the hours of sleep, where if I had simply scrawled them down on a notebook, I would have preserved some sort of insight that my daytime mind is incapable of processing.
But then there’s my inner critic. The Jerk-Face Andy who jumps in any time I feel like I’m figuring out this thing we call “Life.” He says that 99% of those ideas were probably complete trash.
But it’s that 1% I should focus on. I mean, if we think about it, we live in a society where people on YouTube or TicTok post videos of themselves being idiots, so if their Inner Jerk-Faces didn’t stop them, maybe I have some good ideas once and a while.
(Low bar, I know.)
Still, I need to get that bedside notebook. Who knows what great ideas I’ve had and ignored?
Anyone who has read this column is probably nodding, thinking to themselves, “Yeah, it’s the bad ideas that survive.” And since I can’t remember that good idea I had, I can’t argue with them.
Still, as I wrap this up, I should thank you. I’ve written nearly 600 words on something I can’t remember, and you kept reading like a champ.
Is there a better way of describing columns, Twitter, and blogs?
If there is, I probably thought of it before bed and can’t remember.
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