Q. Is all that stuff you write about true?
A. Yes. Unfortunately.
Q. Where do you get your ideas from?
A. I blatantly steal them from other columnists. Just kidding. Thoughts, life experiences, overheard conversations, and ideas are always cropping up, which I immediately jot down in my little notebook. These days family, friends and workmates tend to clam up when I whip out that notebook, so it’s very handy when I want some peace and quiet.
Q. What inspired you to start writing columns?
A. Years ago on a suburban train in Brisbane I sat next to a bloke who was laughing his head off at something in the paper, and I asked him what was so funny. “This fella here,” he said pointing at the page, “Mike O’Connor, funniest columnist in the country. Now get lost!” Intrigued, I bought a paper and agreed with Mr. Cranky, Mike O’Connor was very funny indeed. Since then I have discovered other notable columnists; Bill Bryson, Dave Barry, Erma Bombeck, and Keith Waterhouse. All of them are much, much funnier than me.
Q. How much do they pay you?
A. Let’s just say that the worldwide print industry is going through a rough trot at the moment, and now is a bad time to stake a wage claim. Why, even Rupert is struggling, if the silver fittings in the toilets of his latest jet are anything to go by.
Q. How can I get my own column?
A. Columnists are a neurotic, suspicious and overly protective lot, intensely keen on protecting their own patch, in fact, a club was once set up for humorous columnists in America, and after many years, it still only had a membership of six. Hopeful columnists would send the committee samples of their work, and regardless of how brilliant or funny they were, everyone got the same response: “You haven’t got it kid. Get a career in real estate.”
I’m not that cruel. If you have a burning desire to be a humorous columnist then study the greats, practice writing until you develop a unique voice and style, and submit a few samples of your work to this paper. Or you could mail them to me and I will promptly send you my feedback; and some application forms for a real estate licence.