On National Columnists' Day, remember who makes you laugh, cry ... and angry

Talk about your occasions to celebrate. Genuflect, even. Tuesday was National Columnists' Day. Hence, your duty to think happy thoughts about yours truly, my colleague David Collins and all the other provocative, analytical souls out there who are overprivileged and underpaid.

Per the website nationaldaycalendar.com:

"National Columnists' Day is observed each year on April 18.  On this day, we honor all newspaper columnists and their contributions to the truth in black and white. Columnists have the ability to inspire a plethora of emotions that often result in action. What many may not realize is that is their intent. If their readers are not moved by their column, they have not done their job.

"With their own flavor of humor or satire, some columnists lighten the mood or play a role. Others strictly provide us with a different perspective, hard facts and solid research. Whatever their style or approach, each columnist's hard work connects them to the world.

"Celebrate National Columnists' Day by acknowledging all the people who do the research and write the columns that we rely on reading each day."

Keyword: celebrate. C'mon. To steal the old Bill Parcells line: You hate us so much ... you love us.

We make the paper fun. Because we're not all about facts. Facts are boring. So we spin them into our own fables to entertain and infuriate.

Plus, what other job out there — and I'm totally serious here — is most associated with the toilet other than a plumber?

Seriously. On the toilet is where our words are read the most. I can't tell you how many readers say it's a daily routine — at least for those of you who still read the print edition — that the sports column and nature's daily calling are synonymous.

My friend Joe Panza, a former Old Lyme resident and professor at Southern Connecticut, said as much Tuesday on Facebook: "Sitting on the can reading sports is an American institution. Excuse me, I have some reading to do. Tata."

(Joe will be here all week, folks. And don't forget to try the veal).

It's a fun job. That's why it's always prudent to complain a lot. If you don't, people would get the idea that all you're doing is having fun. And getting paid to instigate five days a week sure beats coal mining.

Readers, friends and other observers often ask how I generate enough ideas to keep the columns flowing. Answer: I never stop working. Inspiration comes at all hours of the day in many different places from many different people. And while it's a drag sometimes to be on the clock seemingly 24/7 — or have some lout in a gin mill tell me something's off the record at 11:30 at night — it sure beats real work.

Example: I spend ample time in our schools. I watch teachers and administrators do their stuff. I marvel. No way I could do that. They put out fires. Mediate disagreements. Engage sniveling parents. And they do so rationally, despite what must be an overwhelming urge to scream. A few weeks ago, I was counseling a kid at a local school with a — shall we say — disagreement going on around us. The principal remained calmer than a lagoon.

I'd have been yelling at those people louder than Jack Nicholson when he told Tom Cruise he couldn't handle the truth. Which is why this is the job for me. Sit quietly behind the keyboard and be snotty. Much easier.

So now that you know: How do you plan to celebrate National Columnists' Day? Guessing some of the reader comments here could be entertaining. Have at it, folks. But you know you love us. How boring would it be with just all those plain old facts?

This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro


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