The Eagle's Eye
The Eagle's eye isn't necessarily the real world… but it is the world as I see it.
I originally started writing the Eagle's eye column in January of 2001. I was approached by, Randy Sanders, the editor of the Columbia River reader to do local political commentary. I asked him if he wanted me to write Op-ed and he said "No, just do the sort of thing that you do on your web page. I was told that you have lots of interesting things to say about some of our local politicians, and I think people would like to hear some of your views."
I asked him: "Am I limited to politics?"
"No" he replied. "You can write anything you want…"
"Anything?" I asked, "Anything?"
"Anything;" he answered, "anything within reason."
My first effort was a short story entitled "Indiana Fred and the smoking police."
In December 2000, the City of St. Helens passed a very strict smoking ordinance. The Ordinance, as written, forbade people from smoking in any public place, they also were not allowed to smoke within a prescribed distance outside of public places. Local tavern owners were up in arms. Many felt that it was a God given right for a customer to be able to light up a smoke when they quaffed beers. The City Council righteously thought that it was not fair to non smokers nor to the public at large to be forced to breathe second hand smoke.
The amusing thing was after passing the ordinance, the Council never formalized any means of enforcing it. They said that the enforcement would be up to the City Administrator. This inspired me to write a story about an anti smoking ordinance being enforced by a fearsome anti smoking police group. The police would wear jack boots and brown shirts and instead of a badge, they would have smoke detectors hanging around their necks. They would be a force to be reckoned with. (Indiana Fred and The Smoking Police)
My first column managed to amuse (and irritate) a number of people and the Eagle's Eye was up and running.
The next thing that I wrote about was the California energy crisis. My suggestion was to send dry cell batteries to our suffering Southern California friends. I am not sure that anyone thought that I was serious; but it inspired me to write more. I wrote about our High School's contract with Coca Cola, the St. Helens City Animal Control office, my experiences with Columbia County's nude beach, the telephone company, skydiving, movies, my draft physical… I was on a roll... Candy and Bill Richey from the Valley Bugler asked if I would like to write for them as well, and I said "Sure." After all two papers were better than one.
I was in fat city. I could not believe the wonder of actually being able to write for TWO newspapers. I took off on other crusades. I wrote about Gays and Joseph McCarthy, stem cells and cloning, fox hunting in the UK, Elk boy and the 700 club. Some of my stories were written with a bit of tongue in jaw, but all of them were well founded in reality and done with a large amount of real research, sprinkled with just a bit of humor… and a tinge of fun fantasy.
My elation was short lived when Randy Sanders sold the Columbia River Reader to Sue and Ned Piper of Longview. They were delightful people, and they knew how to produce a really nice newspaper… but they had no room for me.
"We are not into controversy." Said Sue, "and you are just a bit too controversial for us…"
"Sigh" thought a crestfallen Bill Eagle. "All this time I thought my column was more funny and amusing than controversial." I felt hurt and very saddened by the thought of not being able to write for more than one paper.
"We still want you," said Candy Richey.
"We love you Bill, even if the rest of the world doesn't… besides, you don't cost us much. We like cheap" added Bill Richey.
"They love me, 'cause they can get me cheap." I sighed.
Candy and Bill have been good to me. Like Randy Sanders, they have given me a blank check. I can continue to write about my friends in Clatskanie, I can write about my friend Doc Harry, (who by himself is a living legend). I can write about historical events, scientific discoveries, going to the movies, going to the opera, my animals, my neighbor's animals, and mundane events like going to the store and getting rid of head lice… I can write about controversy, I can also write about everyday things and events that every day people face.
It may not be the real world, but it is not a boring world, it is the world as I see it
I am most thankful to Candy and Bill Richey, and I very much appreciate the Bugler for continuing to let me share my world, the world as seen though the "Eagle's Eye.
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