Listen, you think this is easy?

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. I keep saying that, but hey, how could ya? I donít know what itís like to wait tables, drill oil wells, build houses, defend clients, see patients or anything like that.

What I do know is how hard it is to come up with 104 columns a year when I have only about 100 brain cells functioning. That means four bad ideas, or four non-ideas. Take your pick.

I sit here and think about it so hard smoke comes out my ears. The thoughts run through my head like lemmings, lurching off a cliff:

Orange kitty cats, where the devil did that color come from? Why do crows love to perch on the outstretched arms of scarecrows? Is Obama really a Muslim? Is Hillary really a ventriloquist puppet?

Iím not kidding you, friends and neighbors, coming up with 20 inches of editorial-page copy twice a week is demanding. You go try to write two songs a week, compose two symphonies, two short stories, build two china cabinets or overhaul two old cars. Guarantee youíll be whupped out after about 27 years, like I am.

Goose-geese. Mouse-mice. Moose-meese?

Back in the 1980s, when I started writing this column, it was easy to come up with ideas. Heck, I was 16 years old, the world was great. Gas was what, 70 cents a gallon? I had a blue Mustang with a V-8 engine and my daddy was calling me a "long-haired hippy" because it was touching my shoulders. My dad Ė who was horseshoe-bald by the time he was 27 Ė advised me that Chitimacha men often wore their hair in buns. I told my father if I wore my hair in a bun to Franklin High School Iíd get end up nothing more than a damp spot on the sidewalk.

So. If a stitch in time saves nine, why does haste make waste? If absence makes the heart grow fonder, how come familiarity breeds contempt?

Other than The Daily Show and The Colbert Report I havenít been watching much television, so I canít come up with many ideas that way, to write about. I donít want to steal from John and Stephen, either. Most evenings I spend with my girl and our new puppy. Iím trying not to bore you to tears with puppy stories though itís killing me not to. Donít come around our house, weíll whip out a slide-show of puppy pictures. Never mind that the puppy himself is in the kennel and we could show you the real thingÖ

Hmm. Did anyone ever figure out how many licks it does take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop? Or will the world still never know? Does the Shadow know? If someone tried to find out how many licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll Center of a Tootsie Pop and they had a Shadow decoder ring, then would we know???

Of course, the weatherís not making it any easier. Hot-cold. Cold-hot. Rain-dry. Hot-cold-rain-dry. Hot-rain-cold-dry. Itís enough to make ya crazy, you know? Itís hard to be creative when the weatherís changing every time you look out the window. What, you think Buckley didnít have days like this? He could at least pick on a politician when he was hard-up. I do that and they pout around here so bad I get to feeling sorry for them.

Yeah. As if.

But Iím trying to be nice. Have you noticed? Havenít cleaned anybodyís clock lately. Not even a jab here and there (well, maybe so, but it was just a love tap.) If I was a great columnist like Jimmy Breslin, I could really have a good time. Jimmy once paid for a billboard in New York City railing against some politician or another. Under the big letters proclaiming the main message, Jimmy put in much smaller letters "Sorry to make you all read this. I know how tired you get moving your lips when you read."

Hee-hee! A salty-dog of a newsman after my own heart. Back in the old days we used to just for fun call the mayorís office once every six months or so and tell his secretary that we knew exactly what heís been up to and itíll be on the front page today, then hang up. Of course, we had nothing, but it would sometimes elicit some interesting admissions!

I can mention though that the Louisiana Gaming Boardís agenda for their meeting next week does not have an agenda item for moving the Amelia Belle to Baton Rouge and taking the Baton Rouge boat to Amelia. Imagine that.

Well.

Yup.

Right as rain. In Spain. On the plains.

Maybe next week thingsíll be better.

Who knows? I lost my decoder ring down a crawfish hole when I was eight.