Moss, is humor writer from Tennessee. She writes a
weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny
things that happen to everyone.
She has written for the Daily News of Kingsport, Griffin Journal,
Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton
Advocate, and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News
Journal. She has been
published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks
at Guidepost Books. Her articles have appeared in
numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.
She is a
former board member and past Editor of the Columnists.com, website of the National Society of Newspaper
oldest and largest professional organization
for columnists. She is the Web Editor of
Humorists.com and a founder of the Southern Humorists writers'
organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of HumorColumnist.com.
To carry her weekly column in your
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Online Since 1999
||Bye, Bye, Barry....
Bye, Bye, Barry,
biggest news to hit the humor world in a while was an unanticipated announcement
by Dave Barry that he would be taking a leave of absence from his weekly humor
column. He was not making this up.
To the journalist world this was as shocking as the Pope announcing he is taking
an indefinite leave from the Vatican, or a veteran politician announcing that he
is taking sabbatical leave from Congress.
Who is Dave Barry? Oh, I love you if you are reading my column and donít know
the answer to that! He is the Miami Herald columnist who is kingpin, top banana,
big cheese, head honcho, and the role model guru of the humor columnist world.
All other humor writers are measured by how they compare to Dave Barry.
Guess that puts me so low on the totem pole that I donít even need to look for
Dave Barry is the only humor columnist EVER to win a Pulitzer Prize for writing,
and he didnít even know he was running. Never mind that it was years ago. He
still holds the championship humorist title, which is better than having first
rights to the remote control.
Is he really that good - or that much better than the rest? Most of us donít
think so, and wonder how 500 editors can be so wrong. On the other hand, it is
nice that humor writing was once recognized as a worthwhile endeavor - even if
Dave Barry broke the glass ceiling for humor writers and made it a worthwhile
effort instead of an worthless endeavor. Because of him and a few other greats,
such as Lewis Grizzard and Erma Bombeck, humor has become recognized as the
artistic endeavor that it is, proving that our mothers were wrong and we are not
hopeless losers who canít get a real job.
Many columnists write for nearly nothing just to get exposure. We hope the Miami
Herald has a bulldozer and is ready for an avalanche of resumes. His absence
will leave a great, gaping hole that other humor writers hope to fill with funny
Thing is, no one can replace Dave Barry. Fact is, a writer worth their pencil
lead doesnít want to. Writing is personal and individual. We each develop our
own style if we ever hope to excel, and donít try to be just like someone
else. No one has filled the hole left when Erma Bombeck died - though many are
Dave says he is worn out from covering the Democratic and Republican
conventions, the Olympics, and going on a book tour all in one year. Poor baby!
Most humor writers will never be sent anywhere by anyone to write humor about
anything. But the thing is we will still write our humor. Writing humor isnít
a choice. We do it because we have to.
So, goodbye Dave! Weíre going to miss you. We read you, we laughed with you,
we loved you, we envied you, we admired you - and to tell the truth, we still
do. But we can't help but think that without the syndicated domination of one
person, maybe a bit of sunshine will fall on those who have been in the shadows,
and who knows what creative talent may eventually bloom?
And if anyone out there knows an editor with a hole to fill where a syndicated
column used to be - Iím available! When youíre not Dave Barry, you try
harder. If you call and I donít answer, just leave a message. Iíll be out
the back yard whittling a brand new totem pole.
Copyright 2004 Sheila Moss
Nashville, TN 37219
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