By Eric Heyl
Don’t wait to buy your registration from scalpers.
Don’t be that person.
We still have some registrations available for the upcoming conference in Washington, but I won’t guarantee we won’t sell out before this extravaganza commences on June 26. I’m bad at guarantees. I can’t even offer credible assurances that I’ll wear matching socks tomorrow.
If we do max out, it would be disheartening to have you show up crestfallen at the Logan Tavern, where we’re going to have a splendid, conference-opening optional shindig. It would be a definite buzzkill to have you say, “Eric, I know registration is closed, but I flew into town anyway. Is there something, anything you can do to get me into the star-studded speaker sessions that begin tomorrow morning?”
My powers as NSNC president are considerable. But at that late hour, about the only thing I’ll be able to do is direct you to a shadowy corner of the Lincoln Memorial where your safety, frankly, can’t be guaranteed.
There you will be forced to negotiate with scalpers selling significantly marked-up conference registrations and tickets to Washington Nationals games, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and upcoming U.S. Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee meetings, which for obvious reasons always cost top dollar.
It would pain me greatly to see you spend money that otherwise could go toward a hurricane relief effort or season tickets for your favorite sports team on an inflated registration fee whose proceeds the scalper would use to purchase some frivolous electronic item at Best Buy. You don’t want me pained during my last few days as NSNC president, do you?
What? You didn’t know? Yes, it’s true. I will enter D.C. with presidential powers far beyond your ability to comprehend. I will leave a mere mortal in a beat-up Subaru. My term as president concludes at the conference.
Now, now. Stop, please. This is no time for tears. To everything there is a season — with the obvious exceptions of porcupines and meatloaf — and my season as prez has reached its expiration date. It’s time for someone else to use the signet ring and the hot wax for the betterment of columnists worldwide.
I’ll still be an active NSNC member. But not having to devote so much time to the day-to-day activities of the organization will provide me time to write my presidential memoirs, the first volume of which tentatively is titled, Unqualified for Office. I’ll also be able to more closely supervise the completion of my presidential library, which is now under construction in Pittsburgh.
What? You want to see a picture of it? Of course. Here you go:
It’s going to be magnificent when it’s finished.
Seriously, it’s been a privilege and an honor to lead this organization of extremely talented writers. Thanks for putting your trust in me these past 21 months, and please give presumptive incoming President Jerry Zezima that same trust. If you don’t, he might strike you down with all the lightning bolts I’m leaving him in the official presidential supply trunk.
See you in D.C., folks.
This column originally was published in the June 2014 edition of The Columnist, the members’ newsletter of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.