By Jerry Zezima
National Society of Newspaper Columnists
This month’s message is brought to you by the Jerry’s Kids College, Wedding and Adorable Granddaughter Fund, a nonprofit organization so disorganized that it doesn’t make a profit.
I wouldn’t want to see other organizations that are close to my heart (and other vital organs) in the same boat, even though I don’t have a boat, not counting the little rubber one in my bathtub.
So, in the spirit of those annoying but necessary PBS and NPR beg-athons, the NSNC has resorted to making you feel guilty about not renewing your membership. We’re doing it in the hope that it will (a) provide us with enough money to continue our mission to help columnists and (b) keep the hospitality suite fully stocked.
It’s the perfect time because this is the season of renewal. Wait, that would be spring. This is fall. And by the end of the month it will be winter.
This is the season of renewal nonetheless because the NSNC needs you to renew your membership, which is only $50 a year ($45 when paying by credit card). What do you get for that extremely reasonable sum?
You get to read monthly messages such as this. OK, so that wasn’t such a good example. But you also get lots of great stuff that you already know about because you are, of course, members.
Here’s what you won’t get:
Singing Lessons: At some of our conferences, members have spontaneously broken out into song, usually after spending an inordinate amount of time in the hospitality suite. Other times, we have gone out for karaoke. In both cases, the results have been less than pleasant on the auditory canals. If we had a conference in Venice, it might be a different story. Or at least a different canal. But for now, we can’t afford to pay for you to become Grammy contenders. Sorry.
Visits from the President: Much as I love all 250 or so of you, I don’t have time to drive to your homes and spend a week with you, though I might drop by unexpectedly for lunch. Please leave the house key under the front mat. And make sure there is beer in the refrigerator.
Free GPS Devices: At our conferences, including the keenly anticipated June 2015 event in Indianapolis, members are understandably excited about seeing the sights but are invariably flummoxed about how to get there. “Let’s take a cab,” someone will suggest. “I think we can walk,” someone else will say. “Where are we going?” a third person might chime in.
The president, seeking to cut the tension with his firm grasp of the situation, will say, “The Capitol.” To which everyone will respond, “That was a completely different conference, you idiot!”
Unfortunately, we can’t afford to buy GPS devices so we know where we are going. The fact that the president is a man and is therefore prohibited by federal law from asking for directions only compounds the problem. The best thing to do is to ask the vice president or three of the four co-chairs of next year’s conference committee, all of whom are women. They will set you straight.
I could go on about the things we can’t offer you when you renew your membership, but you must understand we have our limitations. Belonging to the best journalistic organization in America (and, I might add, the world, because we have members from foreign countries such as Canada, Australia and South Dakota), will have to suffice.
Go to the NSNC website’s Join or Renew page and renew today. Or call before midnight tomorrow and we will send you — absolutely free! — a Slim Whitman album and a set of Ginsu knives. Operators are standing by. That’s because we can’t afford to buy them chairs. We would if we had enough money, but we won’t unless you renew your membership. Do it now.
If you also want to contribute to Jerry’s Kids, buy me a beer in Indy.
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Jerry Zezima writes a syndicated humor column for his hometown paper, The Stamford (Conn.) Advocate.