A couple of nights ago, my friend, Michel, and I were enjoying the early summer weather by sitting on a patio on Sparks Street, sipping ice-cold beer and munching on zesty chicken wings, getting caught up on what we've been up to over the eight months or so since we were last together. I lamented how I seem to spend more time, online in cyberspace, with my virtual friends than I spend with my so-called real friends.
I mean, I love you all, but I've known people like Michel for decades and nothing replaces actual face time.
Michel and I have been fast friends since our very first day in journalism school, when we were paired up and assigned to interview each other. We were allotted so much time to question each other, to learn as much as we could, and then write an article and submit it. Not knowing anybody from the class, it was a great way to meet someone and to potentially form a friendship with at least one person in the class.
Michel and I hit it off right away. Even though, from first impressions, we had nothing in common, we quickly learned that opposites attract: Michel is older than me by almost five yearsa seemingly big gap at the time (he was in his mid-20s; Michel is taller than me by more than half a foothis leanness made the difference in height seem even more so; Michel smoked. He was gregarious next to my introverted demeanor. But we also shared interests: writing, for one (no shit); photography; cars; women; drinking. You know, the important stuff.
In our second year, the journalism department took over the college newspaper, the Algonquin Times. Michel and I thrived on the paper, along with other classmates and friendsBecky, Marc, Kristen, Mary. In addition to reporting and writing stories, we took the photos, performed the layout, edited. We made decisions about what we wanted to see in each paper. And we had a lot of fun.
One time, when we were thinking of regular columns to add, I suggested an advice column.
"Remember my idea for an advice column?" I asked Michel, sitting on the patio of the Cock & Lion the other night.
"I'm not sure," he said. "We had lots of ideas back then and that was so long ago."
"Sure," I said, "it was going to be a spoof of Dear Abby. It was going to be me, giving goofball advice on anything." The idea was to start out with some of our classmates writing in, just to get some buzz. Over the weeks, other students from all over the college would write in. It was going to be like Savage Love, only it was before Dan Savage had his column. See? I'm a pioneer!
"Yeah, you remember," I continued, "it was going to be called Ask Ross: He Knows Everything... And What He Doesn't Know, He Makes Up."
"Maybe you should do that in your blog," Michel suggested.
What do you think? Are you looking for advice? Do you have a burning question? Need to have your horizons broadened?
Ooh, ooh... ask me!!
Send your questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to add "Ask Ross" in the subject line. I'll take your questions and compile them in a blog post. I'm going to aim for Fridays for these posts, so I'll try to respond to your e-mail if you send it in by next Wednesday. Don't worry: if I don't get your e-mail in time, I'll add it to the post on the following Friday.
Sound good? Well, what are you waiting for? E-mail me. Ask me. I know everything.
And what I don't know, I'll make up.