I have heard just about about every conceivable suggestion over the years for improving The Slice.
Some ideas were helpful. Some were not. Some were anatomically impossible.
But a good-natured email arriving this week offered something new.
The writer, who had flattering things to say about my work, suggested I change the format of The Slice. After 25 years.
“If possible, and maybe it isn’t, please abandon the item format – 98 percent of them are beyond dull, as you surely must know.”
Well, I don’t mind telling you. That was a splash of cold water in the face.
But you know what? I really don’t want to be one of those stuck-in-the-past guys who is afraid of change. No sir, not me.
Nobody in 2017 respects someone who says “This is how we’ve always done it.”
So maybe I ought to embrace this proposal.
Oh, I don’t mean about abandoning the item format. I’ve always thought Slice readers deserved an occasional break from my voice. I’m here six days a week, after all. Hence the idea of letting others share their stories in my column.
But there is no reason I cannot adopt my correspondent’s no-nonsense tone when interacting with my readers.
Let’s say someone sends me a so-so story about a grandchild and a puppy. Instead of my usual terse but friendly thank-you format, I could go with a slightly more demanding posture.
I could write back … “Your column submission is beyond dull. Take that to Facebook.”
What do you think?
Maybe that gentleman critiquing my column is on to something. Perhaps I really could raise the bar by demanding more from readers.
And what if it turned out Slice contributors actually got a perverse kick out of being scolded for their alleged banality?
“Dear Reader: Your column submission is beyond dull, as you surely must know.”
Maybe that would become a badge of honor for readers. Or something.
Or I could just keep doing what I have been doing for a quarter-century. You know, accept the fact that sometimes The Slice is a little ho-hum and just shrug my shoulders and try to do better.
“Give us a piece of Paul Turner instead,” my helpful reader suggested.
But then who could I blame when my column is beyond dull?
Today’s Slice question: What do you do when you encounter someone who refuses to believe Father’s Day was invented in Spokane?
Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email email@example.com. Spokane: Come for the (fill in the blank). Stay for the (fill in the blank).