The years 1989 through 1991 proved significant. The world saw the end of communism and the beginning of the first Gulf War. Like any other person in his late twenties/early thirties, I led a life of wonder and excitement. Busy creating a new division at work, I found time to earn an MBA, successfully woo the woman of my dreams, begin a successful political campaign and help start a weekly community newspaper.
This is about the latter.
By the time I reached my twenty-eighth birthday, I had decided I liked to write. More significantly, after several popular letters-to-the-editor, I had figured out people had an interest in my writing. I tried submitting a few articles and even started a nice little rejection pile a la Stephen King.
But I was a busy businessman. I didn’t have time to take the usual track of impoverished author. First, I had a real job, so I certainly didn’t come close to the definition of impoverishment. Second, I had a knack for the latest in technology (a thing called “desk-top publishing”). Finally, I had that “never-say-die” demeanor so common among the young (and, if I dare admit today, the not-so-young).
The closing of my community’s local newspaper left a void my computer skills could help quickly fill.
And they did.
And, as a result, I got to co-publish a newsweekly. Of course, with the title of “publisher” comes some perks. Namely, I could write a weekly column and no one could reject it.
And so I did.
Last year, as part of my personal 20th anniversary project, I re-entered all my columns into the computer. As I went through them, I realized they represent a sort of a time machine. The articles not only chronicled a fascinating time in world and national affairs, they also represent the inner workings of my much younger brain. I shared ideas on philosophy (including sneakers, paper airplanes and white cream donuts), people I knew (Bart Giamatti, Pearl Bailey and Rocky Graziano’s boxing gloves) and people I didn’t know (Pete Rose, Galileo and John Lennon). I wrote of politics (local and national) and popular culture (Star Trek, of course, Pac-Man and Bloom County – remember that?). A lot of this stuff remains interesting, if only because it exposes my own naiveté.
But the columns I’m most proud of consist of free writing. I wrote of the culinary antics of a bachelor, the lure of Manhattan and, my personal favorite, a three part serial entitled “Terror at the School Bus Stop” (inspired by the popular Reader’s Digest feature Drama in Real Life).
Although I sold my share of the paper soon after beginning my term in elective office, I still retain the rights to everything I wrote (and everything my mother wrote). Now, for the first time since they were originally published, I share my personal time machine with you – warts and all.
Each week, coinciding with the same week of their initial publication, I will post a new Carosa Commentary. A blog before blogs, this collection of sometimes humorous, sometimes thought-provoking and now nostalgic essays describe life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness during a critical period of American History. See if you can remember some of the people, places and things I write about. Amaze yourself when you discover how some issues just don’t go away. Best of all, I hope my stories delight you as much as they’ve delighted the readers of some twenty-odd years ago.
Week #1: Only Heels Can Be Heroes (originally published March 23, 1989)