The Poetry Book of the Year Club Came Calling

The poetry book of the year club came calling

via my computer and congratulated me

on a great poem of mine and of my choosing (isn’t

that their editor’s business?), to be published in

their Really Great Poems poetry book for only

$99.95 the really great pre-publication discount

price to really great poets who get whatever poem

of theirs they want published in a really great

looking book that will look wonderful on the

coffee table and surely will impress all their

poetry aficionado friends. How did they get my

name? Do they follow my blog?  You mean (I

asked them via e-mail) you are going to publish,

sight unseen, an original poem of mine just because

you have decided that I’m a great poet? What do

you pay your editor to do? Then I asked the editor

who was available for my every $99.95 beck and

call if I could get my poem published in The Really

Great Poems poetry book without buying the book.

Hello-o! Anyone home?  It was like what now

seems only a few short years ago (It seems that

way a lot these days) I was congratulated on being

chosen an Outstanding Young Man in America

for which I had been nominated by a clergy friend (?)

A few short years ago that really great and beautiful

book cost $49.95. Well, “alrighty then” I thought to

myself and humbly announced to everyone within

earshot including all my unappreciative parishioners.

Pleased with myself beyond my twenty-nine years,

I bought it and for the first six months stared quite

impressed with the teensy-weensy print and really

short paragraph (I didn’t need glasses then.)

of all my really great accomplishments especially for a

twenty-nine year old.  My wife just shook her head and

my kids wondered why I read that book more than the

Bible. Then came acknowledgment that I was one

of the Outstanding Young Men of the South (I was

living in Kentucky at the time.), and then Mid-South

for $49.95 each and when I moved north, Outstanding

Young Men of the North for $59.95, (inflation) but

why buy those when I already had been an Outstanding

Young Man In the Whole Nation not to mention the Milky

way and parallel universes?  Anyway, by then I was

beginning to feel my greatness was all in my head and

that the publishers thought is was all in my wallet.

Having been north and south, it has only been in

recent years that I have had the courage to venture

east and west and that as something other than

an outstanding young man.  So, I’ve been thinking

about what it means to be an Outstanding Old Fool.

I still try to keep up with Jesus although I now jog

slowly which would then make me a Slow Old

Jogging Fool for Jesus and not a particularly

outstanding one at that. So, if I’m ever going to

find out what it means to be an Outstanding Old Fool,

I will have to leave it to those who hopefully won’t

charge me, even at today’s really great pre-publication,

discount price, $99.95.

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