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Too Many Ideas to Write About

Updated on November 19, 2017
William F. Torpey profile image

Graduated NYU in 1964. Worked in NYC for 2 years in public relations then as reporter and editor before retiring from The Hour newspaper.

Untermyer Park in Yonkers

Untermyer Gardens overlooking the Hudson River in Yonkers was hailed in the 1920s as "America's most spectacular gardens." Before the city's restoration efforts the site was so rundown that "Son of Sam" allegedly used the site for devil worshiping.
Untermyer Gardens overlooking the Hudson River in Yonkers was hailed in the 1920s as "America's most spectacular gardens." Before the city's restoration efforts the site was so rundown that "Son of Sam" allegedly used the site for devil worshiping. | Source

David Berkowitz/Son of Sam

David Richard Berkowitz, known as Son of Sam as well the .44 Caliber Killer, was convicted of a series of attacks that left six victims dead and seven others wounded. He claimed he was commanded to kill by a demon that possessed his neighbor's dog.
David Richard Berkowitz, known as Son of Sam as well the .44 Caliber Killer, was convicted of a series of attacks that left six victims dead and seven others wounded. He claimed he was commanded to kill by a demon that possessed his neighbor's dog.

What to Write About?

Quick! If you were going to write a newspaper column today what would you write about?

My guess is that your answer encompasses one of three possibilities: You have nothing to write about and could not care less; you have a subject of particular interest -- like taxes, abortion or bureaucrats -- that you often wish you could shout about from the rooftops; or, you have so many topics you feel strongly about that you just can't pinpoint one.

Personally, I feel strongly about a whole range of subjects that are fair game for a column. When I learned that this space was available, I volunteered to come up with something of interest to our readers before deadline.

Early Prisoner Release?

My first thought was to inquire into the wisdom of (Connecticut) Gov. (Lowell P.) Weicker for the way prison inmates are credited for good behavior, allowing convicts to be released earlier than is now the case; to question why we give convicted criminals harsh sentences and immediately soften their terms through "good behavior" and parole to a degree that is laughable.

Then it occurred to me that a better column might be one about that absurd and, I believe, unconstitutional idea endorsed by one state community to allow police to give drivers a ticket for good driving. While this might seem like a nice thing to do if one's mind isn't in gear, the idea fizzles when one realizes that this gives police the right to stop anyone, at any time, without a shred of evidence of wrongdoing; all they need say is, "He appeared to be driving safely."

Jury Selection

Then again it occurred to me that I could write about the way I feel about the jury system. I could relate how my peers generally have intelligence, knowledge and opinions -- even prejudices -- but, under the jury system we live under, the "peers" selected must be automatons who have no strong opinions and little knowledge -- about anything.

Prosecutorial Abuses

In earlier treatises, I think I've already mentioned the abuses of power by prosecutors and judges who, through plea bargaining and inappropriate sentencing, punish some criminals too severely and others not harshly enough. Justice should be swift and sure rather than slow and uneven. No column needed on that!

Postal Service Mismanagement

Another column I considered doing is about the U.S. Postal Service and its myriad problems, notably the string of senseless killings from Son of Sam (David Berkowitz, who lived only a few blocks from where I grew up in Yonkers, N.Y.) to the most recent abomination in Dearborn, Mich. While violence is always inexcusable and cannot be condoned by anyone, runaway mismanagement at post offices throughout the country contribute to the stress and, sometimes, rage that push distraught workers over the edge.

Nostalgia Radio/Music

Or, I could write a column about the rash of new radio shows that are bringing popular music back to the airwaves after decades of the cacophonies of rock 'n roll, heavy metal, etc. While I love listening to the great old music, the young disc jockeys still don't get it. I don't listen to these stations for nostalgia; I listen because I like the music.

The heck with it; I don't think I'll write a column today.

I wrote this column for The Hour newspaper of Norwalk, Conn., on June 26, 1993.

If You Could Write a Newspaper Column Today What Subject Would You Choose?

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    • profile image

      John Walton 4 years ago

      Keep tilting, William!

    • William F. Torpey profile image
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      William F Torpey 4 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      It's a whole lot easier to let George do it, John. Thinking seriously about political and social problems is not something that comes easy to most of us -- it's much easier to go along with the crowd. Few of us enjoy stirring up troubled waters or standing up to those who oppose our views. Most prefer to sail along with a headwind and never look back. Personally, I feel an obligation to do all I can to help set right the many wrongs I see in the world. But it's very much like tilting at windmills.

    • profile image

      John Walton 4 years ago

      Hi William

      My current gripe doesn't come under any of the general headings listed above, particularly in relation to life in the United States. I'm a Brit and highly unqualified to comment on specifics.

      However, it seems to me that, increasingly, when we face difficulties in any field of endeavour we are confounded by a compulsion to say: 'That's the way it's always been solved' or 'This must be the right way out because...................(fill in the blank with the names of 2 or 3 current trendy luminaries) took it.

      Thus is the cult of the journeyman perpetuated and originality of thought consigned to only very occasionally forcing its way into our reluctant collective consciousness.

    • profile image

      Bob 10 years ago

      It's OK Bill. I broke away from the football game just to read your column. It was better then the game I was watching. Jets lost again.

    • William F. Torpey profile image
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      William F Torpey 10 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      I'm glad you enjoyed it, compu-smart. Thanks for your feedback.

    • compu-smart profile image

      Compu-Smart 10 years ago from London UK

      Excellent and amusing.. I think whatever you "do" decide to write about I know for sure it will be written very well..

      Keep up the good work.. ;)

    • William F. Torpey profile image
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      William F Torpey 10 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Pleasant dreams, Earth Angel.

    • Earth Angel profile image

      Earth Angel 10 years ago

      Thanks William!! It's a rainy day here and I have been debating the merits of writing about at least three dozen topics . . . or taking a nap!! The nap may win for the next hour or so!! But then, like most writers, I will rise and the voice of ideas will be even stronger and to the keyboard I will go!! Thanks for the deligtful Hub!! Blessings, Earth Angel!!