Banner The joy of sax

Preface


On a hot August afternoon, I had gone into the local air conditioned supermarket to cool down and find a few of the 30,000 advertised items that could translate into dinner for six, including two German Shepherds. (The Vietnamese pot-bellied pig came later.) Apparently, I wasn't the only one that afternoon who figured out how to get free air conditioning. The checkout lines were longer than a politician's lies, so there was only one thing to do. I began reading the supermarket tabloids in the point-of-purchase "you gotta buy this"racks.
   
By the time it was my turn to check out, I learned from the Weekly World News that a space alien had come to earth to advise presidential candidate Bill Clinton. The alien had already advised President Bush and Ross Perot early in the Summer, but had to wait until the Democratic convention to find out which of the donkeys was going to be the nominee.
   
Being the alert reporter I am, I was upset that a competitor had scooped me on what was obviously the most important news of the decade. A couple of weeks earlier, I had covered part of the first Clinton-Gore bus tour of America, and no one mentioned anything about an alien. Obviously, the Secret Service had covered it up.
    That evening, Rick Renn, my nephew from Georgia called. He had also just read the space alien article, and knew I would be interested. The evidence was over- whelming. There were now at least two people who recognized good journalism. It was time to act.
    For a few years, off and on, usually when I had too much time and not enough sense, I had thought about writing a weekly newspaper column. It would be a great catharsis of what I proudly knew to be a warped mind, fertilized now and then by my wife. With only 23,000 other columnists pitching their own catharses, I figured there was room enough for another 700-800 words a week, especially since newspapers seemed to be desperate for features. How else could anyone explain why they publish 4-column pictures of supermarket openings, gossip columns, and capsulized summaries of TV soaps? Thus was born "Wanderings,"a social issues column that probes a small part of society.
    Sometimes it's biting satire; sometimes a wistful essay. Sometimes, it looks into politics, other times the environment, health care, recreation, or whatever needs to be probed that week.
    The first column, "Enquiring Minds and Space Aliens,"appeared in five newspapers; the column is now picked up by almost ten times that number. The Clinton-Gore era was good to American business and private investment; it has been even better for columnists and satirists.
  
 The Joy of Sax isn't a comprehensive overview of everything that happened during the Clinton-Gore era�for example, I chose not to write about the bombings in Oklahoma City in 1995 and in Centennial Park at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. It doesn't probe allegations, counter-charges, rumor, or innuendo. And, it certainly doesn't examine the President's "motivations, as many pop wanna-be psychologists have tried.
    It's simply a few looks into some parts of what happened in America during one of the most thrilling rides in recent history.