Editor’s note: Due to the COVID-19 shutdown, the Courier-Herald has temporarily terminated freelancer contracts like columnists Rich Elfers and Wally DuChateau. Both were given the option to continue writing for the paper without pay.
Well friends, what can I say at a time like this? It’s the end of a long, very enjoyable trip. Of course, there have been a lot of those and I presume there’ll be many more, but this one has been quite unique because it’s last more than ten years. Indeed, this is by far the longest length of time I’ve ever held any job.
I attribute such longevity to the fact that I’ve enjoyed it. (And let me pass this wisp of elder wisdom to the younger set: If you can make a living doing what you love to do, it really isn’t work — and not “working” is an important component in a happy and contented life.) But now, like they say, “All good things come to an end”. As you may know, this newspaper is struggling to keep printing its physical editions, and in the near future, may have to go fully online, just like everything else in the world. So this is my last column. Of course, I could write them on the internet, but I wouldn’t get paid for that — and no matter how much I enjoy writing them, I don’t feel like doing it without some financial compensation. I’d rather spend my time writing other things, like a novel.
At a time like this, I suppose I could wax a bit nostalgic, but I’d rather not. You see, I don’t by any means think the past was necessarily better then today. As I’ve frequently pointed out, old small-town Enumclaw had its appealing attributes, but it was also very bigoted and narrow-minded — and, similarly, a printed newspaper offered a pleasant, morning ritual, but I find it’s been easily replaced by a morning spin through Google and yahoo.
I would, however, like to thank all of you for the support, friendship, and recognition you’ve offered over the years. Admittedly, when I walked through the streets, it was always egoistically refreshing and gratifying to have total strangers approach me and offer their congratulations or criticism about something I’d written.
In closing, let me offer one more suggestion to those millennials who aren’t in any hurry to settle down, marry, start a family, and buy a house which, according to considerable sociological research, includes most of you. If you think you’d like to try some other life-style, particularly the single, urban life-style, Seattle is a convenient and excellent place to “test the waters”, so to speak.
And trust me on this one, if you’re an artistic type — whether an author, musician, painter, or dancer — or it you’re seeking a position in one of the world’s most powerful financial institutions, get the hell out of Enumclaw. Go to Manhattan.
And in the future, if you happen to see me sitting in Jackson’s windows — still my favorite perch in town — cast me a wave or perhaps a more explicit gesture. Or, if you see me sitting in a local restaurant or lounge — when they finally open again — say hello and, if I’m feeling especially flush at the moment, I might even buy you a drink.
Cheers to all!