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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Ed’s Many Old Hats – I wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then


I wrote a column for this paper, which I love, for 10 years when I was a junior senior citizen. I’m hesitant to tell you how old I am, but the hint is that I was born in late 1939. My last column in the series was December 2014.

I never aspired to be a writer; in fact, I didn’t even finish school. Like a lot of farm boys, we joined the Marines, Army or Air Force (never Navy) when we were 17. We served our duty, came home with no plan, but somehow prospered in spite of ourselves.

I didn’t start writing until after I started my company, Sound Incorporated, and found myself with two different cultures: Office staff and field staff. The office staff knew everything happening in the company, but the field staff hardly ever came to the shop. The field staff found out about what we were doing through the grapevine. 

So I started writing a company newsletter and assigned one office staff member each week to write their take on what was going on. If I were totally honest, which I’ve never been accused of, I would tell you that it did me more good than it did the employees. I fell in love with writing fundamentally true stories with a smile and chuckle in every line.

My next writing experience was when I missed a We Bad Company annual meeting and Joe Modaff, the president, asked me to write the minutes. WHAT? I wasn’t even there!

Joe said it didn’t matter – no one paid attention anyway. That opened the door to creativity and I took total advantage of it. I made up committees, golf, membership, trips, etc. and assigned people to head them up. Even after mailing each We Bad member (40) the minutes, no one questioned anything, so I’ve written them for over 35 years.

The We Bad minutes experience gave me a great idea; since they had believed the minutes, they would be a great audience to entertain.

I started writing a sophomoric newsletter about the company that was totally fiction, or plagiarized from other plagiarizers. The newsletter was snail mailed out to our members whenever I got the urge to write, so it was called “The Irregular Rag.” This all happened before the darn internet burst upon me. After it came along I went to all plagiarized material that the boys couldn’t track down.

I still write the newsletter every Sunday afternoon and email it out to about 250 people I’ve become friends with over the years, and it’s called, “The We Bad Weakly news.”

I started this month’s column with the intent of plagiarizing a column I wrote for PN in October 2012 called “COUNTING.” My lead sentence began, “I thought getting old was going to take a long time, but I woke up one morning and suddenly realized  I had become a senior, senior citizen. The first hint was that even 70-year-olds were calling me ‘Mr.’ or ‘Sir.’ That really hurts people like me that indeed have creaky, noisy body parts, but whose mind still wants to drag race every time the light turns green.”

Bla, bla, bla. I’ll get too the counting column next time………..If PN’s publisher will let me.

Ed Channell
Ed Channell
Ed Channell has served on many boards, foundations and fundraising campaigns during more than 50 years in Naperville—and he loves feedback. Give it to him at echannell1@gmail.com.