Filling the Tipple Jar

President’s Message

By Jerry Zezima
National Society of Newspaper Columnists

Jerry Zezima

Jerry Zezima

My best New Year’s resolution was made many New Years ago, a year after my worst New Year’s resolution, which was to develop a taste for Scotch.

Looking for a beverage that would mark me as smooth, suave and sophisticated in restaurants (which did little good because most of the time I go to pizzerias) and at parties (which I seldom attend because I am not invited), I wanted an alternative to beer, the nectar of the gods, and red wine, which I consider over-the-counter heart medicine.

The only hard liquor I have ever really liked is gin, and I drink it sparingly because it’s in season only during the summer and has a tendency, for periods of up to 24 hours, to destroy virtually all of my cognitive functions.

Wall display of cuckoo clocksOn a wild Saturday night in college, a buddy and I each drank a fifth of rum to celebrate something whose significance escapes me (see: “cognitive functions,” above). To this day, I can’t smell the stuff without sprinting to the porcelain convenience, where I am likely to be mocked by the Ty-D-Bol Man.

So I settled on Scotch. It’s the liquor of successful men, mixed with water, soda or nothing, either straight up or on the rocks.

One year I resolved to develop a taste for the stuff. I became a boon companion of Johnnie Walker, both black (which described my mood the next morning) and red (the color of my eyes). Ultimately, our friendship ended because I considered Johnnie to be in bad taste.

Another buddy introduced me to Glenlivet. “Who’s Glen Livet?” I asked innocently. That friendship was short-lived, too.

My wife suggested I try Dewar’s, which she liked. I didn’t.

So I gave up and went back to beer and wine, a long time before I realized they are the beverages of choice in the hospitality suite at NSNC conferences. The next year, I made my most successful New Year’s resolution, which was, of course, not to make any more New Year’s resolutions.

I am breaking that resolution for 2015, my only full year as president of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. I hereby resolve to help make the NSNC even greater than it already is.

We have a lot going for us, not the least of which is that, with about 250 dues-paying members, we are the world’s largest organization of columnists and bloggers.

We have encouraged, helped, supported and awarded our fellow writers and have elected to our hall of fame some of our profession’s greatest practitioners.

And we have aided college students who have shown the talent to become newspaper columnists themselves.

All of this is good. But we need to do more. And each of us can help.

For example, if you live in a town with a college, contact the head of the English or journalism department and arrange to speak to a class. You will lay the groundwork for future columnists — and potential NSNC members. Plus, the department head, who is probably a current or former journalist, will likely know other people who will be interested in joining or helping the NSNC.

If you write for a newspaper, either full time or as a freelancer, get your fellow columnists to join the NSNC. If you blog, do the same with your fellow bloggers.

Every little bit helps. So please, in 2015, resolve to do what you can to make the NSNC even better. I will do the same.

And, as president, I resolve to make sure there is plenty of beer and wine in the hospitality suite at this year’s conference in Indianapolis.

• • •

Jerry Zezima writes a syndicated humor column for his hometown paper, The Stamford (Conn.) Advocate.

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