Ten years of reckless self indulgence
by Jon Worley
This week the SUIT crew is resting on our laurels, celebrating the fact that we've been doing this for ten years. And while very few people in the real world seem to care, we're going to continue writing these pieces for the simple reason that we want to write them.
Some interesting facts about SUIT:
The "LCN Syndicate" referenced in the e-mail delivery of these columns is, in fact, a joke. Aaron (um, that would be Chris) spent much of his time in college studying organized crime (mostly drugs, but other things as well), and "LCN Syndicate" is one nickname law enforcement types have come up with for the mafia, or "La Cosa Nostra syndicate." He suggested it back when he and Matt were putting out Lies, and we decided to use it for these columns as well.
It was, in fact, my idea to do these columns. I'm famous in our family for coming up with grand ideas that never pan out. I think the "Shut up, I'm talking" name came from Aaron, though it might have been Matt. Sounds more like Aaron--which means Matt might well have thought of it.
While the last four years or so have featured columns from just the three Worley boys, the following people have also contributed (#s of columns in parenthesis): Michael Maello (105), Todd Foltz (24), John Hedgecoth (17), Scott Parkinson (7), Bill Worley (3), Dennis Domrzalski (2) and Barb Barrett (1). For those wondering about Tyler Jane Barley and Lisa Black, those are (or rather, were) pen names for myself and Matt, respectively.
To the best of my knowledge, Barb Barrett (who happens to be my wife) is the only person to ever be paid good cash money for a column. She wrote one piece, and she got paid. Of course, her day job is professional journalist. Maybe that had something to do with it.
I have had people from 17 different countries write to me about my columns. The weirdest (and truly, most wonderful) was a long, convoluted missal from a guy in Bangladesh who loved driving manual cars--but whose greatest ambition in life was to own a KITT car (you know, like "Knight Rider.") Awesome.
Our pieces have shown up in a number of zines who didn't bother to pay us. In some cases, they didn't even give us credit. That's okay. Any way you spread the disease is fine with us.
The most popular column ever written (as judged by my logs, which only go back a couple years) is called "Three Gallon Guy." Aaron (Chris) wrote it in January 2005 about having given a total of three gallons of blood. A couple thousand people have checked that one out. It's at the top of my logs most months. Want to read it? Just type in "three gallon guy" on Google. It comes up right at the top.
The next most popular column is one I wrote about beer ads. I wrote it last fall when I had a serious buzz on (I'd been watching football or hockey or something) and didn't bother to proofread it. Looking back, I'm glad I didn't. It's a nice breezy read. Check it out here. It doesn't rate highly on Google searches any more.
The best column I ever wrote was about the birth of my oldest son, Max. I still get a letter or two each month about it, and it also led to me being interviewed by a reporter for the National Post (a Canadian newspaper). She liked the piece so much she used what I wrote as a template for her lede--passing the words off as her own. I wrote about that here. It was flattering...I guess.
Though you may not believe it, I do edit the pieces before they go out. Every once in a while I call up Matt or Aaron and say, "You know, the French Revolution was in 1791, not 1971, which kinda throws off your entire thesis." The inevitable answer is, "So other than that, it's cool, right?" Many of you are wondering who edits my pieces. I do. Which explains why they're often a complete mess.
In general, Matt and Aaron write their columns Sunday morning (Albuquerque time), and I write mine Sunday night (East Coast time) before putting them up. Or, more specifically, I write two or three columns and then pick the one that is least dull. You can be thankful you never had to read my thoughts on the Azerbaijan pipeline.
Of course, I wrote this column on a Monday, because I got back from the beach yesterday and was too tired to write. That and my e-mail basket filled up and I didn't get columns from Matt and Aaron. Vacations are great.
Years ago, we wrote every week. Now we take breaks every once in a while, especially in the summer. Kinda like the New Yorker.
Shut up, I'm Talking is not exactly a blog. But you knew that already.
We will keep writing these columns until we decide we don't want to write them anymore.
You may stop reading them any time you like.
In the last ten years, Jon Worley has written 516 SUIT columns. That's about 400,000 words (give or take a few ten thousand). The English language contains around 400,000 words (give or take a few ten thousand).