I am rarely at a loss for words.
Let me clarify. When I’m writing, I rarely have too little to say. If you meet me in person, that may not be the case.
I’m a rare breed, an introvert who has to spend a lot of time in the public eye.
If I were younger, you might call me an Internet creation. I can spend hours online talking to friends and strangers from all over the world. In person? Not so much. But I was this way long before Al Gore was pretending he invented the Internet.
I’ve been this way for years, for decades even.
When I’m writing, I’m never at a loss for words. In fact, I’ll ramble on for sentences, or paragraphs … or hours. Take your pick. On Facebook, rarely are my posts short. I’ve started writing several books. Some day I’ll finish one. I’m working on a blog, which I’ll announce one day, but right now it is just a collection of my thoughts and ideas. I’m not a big Twitter fan, mostly because I have trouble fitting everything I want to say into so little space.
But in person, I’m a different story. I get tongue-tied. That’s awkward at times, which may explain why I’m not married and live with two cats and a big white dog. But being an introvert can also be a good thing. I’ve learned how to listen better than a lot of people. I’ve also learned how to organize my thoughts in my brain before I speak. I live by the old adage “Be sure brain is engaged, before putting your mouth in gear.”
And mostly, I do that. Not always, but mostly. Sometimes my temper gets in the way of my common sense.
If you see me in my car, or truck, I’m the guy yelling obscenities at the driver in front of me who is taking too long to make a right hand turn —- on red, for heaven’s sake. YOU CAN TURN RIGHT ON RED IN OHIO FOLKS! Fortunately, my windows are usually rolled up, or I’m jamming to Jimmy Buffett with the sound turned up too high … so I don’t think I’m heard. I’m glad there aren’t more lip-readers in the world.
I’m also the guy who sometimes, by accident, finds the middle finger of my right hand flying up … for no apparent reason …. when someone cuts me off, or tailgates, or runs through a light or coasts through a stop sign, or gives me a dirty look when I’m the one rolling through a stop, albeit for a perfectly legitimate reason.
I’ve tried to stop that middle finger, but it’s like when the doctor hits you on the knee with that little rubber hammer to check your reflexes. That finger pops up. It just happens, and there is no stopping it.
Oh, and I learned that gesture from my mother. I think it is hereditary. … Just saying’!
Anyway, as you can see, I’m rarely at a loss for words when typing, which leads me to the real reason for this column.
My goal — and because of time constraints, it will sometimes be missed — is to write a column for every print issue of the Galion Inquirer. These columns will sometimes be about serious matters, sometimes silly things, and sometimes just random thoughts from a mind that rarely stops thinking.
I’ve been the editor here for two weeks. I’m learning as I go, so there have been some missteps. Some of you have pointed them out. But I’ll get better. This is a whole new format, different from places I’ve previously worked and computers and systems I’ve previously used. Again, I … and the Inquirer … will get better.
I’m also our group editor, in charge of overseeing the Morrow County Sentinel and the Bellville Star. I also post items on Facebook pages and Twitter and elsewhere when I can. I’ve spent, at the most, 20 minutes total in Mount Gilead and Bellville in the past two weeks. Fortunately, they’re well-oiled machines already.
Here are a few observations from my short time at the helm.
1. Inquirer readers want a good product, and they don’t take kindly to mistakes. That’s OK. I don’t disagree. I will try to keep delivering a quality product to readers of our print edition, our E-edition, our website and other places our product shows up. I also hate mistakes, but the realist in me knows they are going to happen.
2. Inquirer readers are unabashedly vocal in their praise and their anger. I don’t mean of the Inquirer, although that holds true, too. Readers are unafraid to compliment something that is good, and definitely unafraid to bash someone, or something, well, anything they dislike. And that’s OK, too. There are comment areas on our website and on our Facebook page. Use them judiciously, but use common sense … and don’t use vulgar language.
3. Inquirer readers are extremely helpful, and that help is going to make it easier to deliver the quality product everyone wants. I asked yesterday for information about Andrew’s Dairy. The response and suggestions were impressive. It even started some nice conversations as readers shared some of their memories and observations of Andrew’s Dairy. And that is really what our comment sections are about, to start conversations. So kudos!
4. Even though I’ve lived in Galion most of my life, I’ve been out of touch with much of what has gone on here in recent years. I’ve followed the good — and the bad — from afar, but not as closely as I could. Again, I’m in the learning, or relearning, mode. If you’ve got story ideas or suggestions on how to make the Inquirer a better product, please share them with me. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I can’t say I’ll act on all of them, but I’ll certainly give all of them some thought. And if you see me out and about, say hello.
5. There are a lot of people who have touched bases with me from year’s past. That’s kind of fun. Keep doing that. I’m better at names than faces, but I’m not as young as I once one either, and the memory fails me every now and …. now, where was I?
Anyway, as you read this, I hope you’ve already begun celebrating Independence Day. It may be my favorite holidays. It includes the things I like best, celebrations, warm weather, family, cookouts, fireworks, a few adult beverages and golf courses. I’ll be at Pickle Run this weekend taking some pictures and talking to folks. I’ll also watch the fireworks Sunday night, but I’m fortunate enough to live close enough to Heise Park that I can watch them from my back yard. But if you see me, and know me, please say hi.
Russ Kent is editor of the Galion Inquirer, Morrow County Sentinel and Bellville. Email him at email@example.com.