Sunday, December 27, 2020

"Goodbye From the Good Humor Guy"

By Jerry Zezima

Hearst Connecticut Media Group

When I was in high school, Stamford Catholic, Class of 1971, where I was the class clown and my proudest achievement was setting the school record for most trips to the principal’s office, my goal in life was to be silly and irresponsible and actually get paid for it.

I wondered how I could do this when I started reading the great humor columnists Art Buchwald and Erma Bombeck in my hometown paper, the Stamford Advocate. I resolved to write a humor column, too. It would be like doing standup comedy, except I wouldn’t have to show up.

In 1976, a year out of college, with absolutely no journalistic experience, I bluffed my way into a job at the Stamford Advocate. I failed miserably in one thing after another — copyboy, police reporter, sportswriter, assistant metro editor, features editor — until there was nothing left to do but write a humor column.

My first one was published in 1985. For the past 35 years, I have been inflicting myself on the good readers of the Stamford Advocate and Greenwich Time (and, more recently, the other papers in Hearst Connecticut Media Group).

Because all stupid things must come to an end, this is my last column for the Hearst Connecticut newspapers. It is not my decision, but I respect the editors who made it.

From the beginning, I have written about family foibles and the funny little things of everyday life. It beats writing about inconsequential stuff like politics and world affairs.

The star of my column — and my life — is my wife, Sue. If it weren’t for her, I would be either dead or in prison. She’s the backbone of the family, my soulmate, a woman who, for putting up with me for so long, deserves to be the first living person canonized by the Catholic Church. I deserve to be shot from a cannon.

Sue and the rest of the Zezima clan — daughters Katie and Lauren, sons-in-law Dave and Guillaume, and grandchildren Chloe, Lilly, Xavier, Zoe and Quinn — have given me a gold mine of material. So have pets, friends and even complete strangers.

I once went to the bank to apply for a loan so I could buy Sue the $10 million Millennium Bra from Victoria’s Secret for Christmas. I ended up getting her a flannel nightgown instead.

I flunked the same driving test that Katie, then 16, passed with flying colors.

I called the White House to see if I could have Lauren’s room declared a disaster area so I would qualify for federal funds to clean it up.

I played blackjack with Lizzie, the family dog — and lost.

I took Chloe to a bakery to make doughnuts, I dressed up like a fairy princess while babysitting Lilly, I took Xavier to the Smithsonian and was surprised I wasn’t put on exhibit myself, and I mastered the fine art of simultaneously feeding infant twins Zoe and Quinn on a nursing pillow called My Brest Friend.

I even managed to find humor in the quarantine when Sue and I celebrated our 42nd anniversary in the most romantic way possible: We took a trip to the dump.

This may be my last hurrah for Hearst, but I will keep writing my column for Tribune News Service, which distributes it to papers nationwide and abroad. If you have ever wondered why the newspaper industry is in trouble, it would be because of me.

If you suffer from insomnia and would like to continue reading my columns, you can see them each week on my blog:

And if you want to keep in touch, here’s my email address:

After all these years, I’m still silly and irresponsible. Just what you’d expect from the class clown in high school.

Copyright 2020 by Jerry Zezima

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