You’d probably never guess it after reading some of my stuff, but I was once a school superintendent. I was an elected superintendent, one of the few in the nation, in my small, mostly rural county in Mississippi. I served for four years and then was—I’ll call it—unelected. I’ve never written about that; maybe I will one day. But don’t be scared of me; I think I was at least a pretty fair superintendent—and no scandals. However, I was obviously a terrible politician. Well, I’d rather be a good superintendent for a while than to be a good politician forever.
That superintendent stuff is relevant because when I became superintendent, I asked the publisher of the local weekly newspaper if I could write a weekly column. My intentions were to keep it all about school stuff: school business, school accomplishments, school happenings. But I didn’t take long to figure out that it would be hard to be interesting and entertaining every week writing just about school stuff.
Also, well, things would happen. Only five columns in, my sister-in-law, who also happened to be one of the district’s best teachers, was assaulted in her home—by some of my former students. Four months into my column, my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer, and he would die only three weeks after the diagnosis. Eight months into my column writing, we lost a dear little first grader and a teacher in unrelated car accidents. How could I keep writing about school plans and meetings and policies when these things were going on around me? I didn’t. The column began to head in different directions. I wanted to keep the public informed about school business, but I also wanted to be entertaining or poignant or thought provoking or humorous—whatever I felt like being for that week. Hopefully, sometimes I succeeded; and then sometimes—well, you can’t bat a thousand. My old pals love giving me grief about my particularly bad columns, but according to them, they are all bad.
The column started out being called “Superintendent’s Corner,” and when I was no longer in the job, I chose to call it “Drippin’ Ink.” That was something that I sometimes would tell my students back when I was—should I admit it?—an English teacher—nearly one hundred years ago. And, by the way, just to clarify, this column has absolutely nothing to do tattoos or tattoo art—kind of sounds like it does, doesn’t it?
So, for now, this website will be populated with some of those old columns that were originally published in the Lawrence County Press, and occasionally I’ll add more. The first column ran on the first Wednesday in February 2008. As of 1/1/14, I have written 239 columns. I will attempt to spare you from the really bad ones. I also think that I’m a great photographer, and I’ll throw some appropriate pictures up now and then—or, at least, ones that I like. Other than that, I’m not sure where I’m headed with all this. We’ll let it play out. And by the way, I haven’t figured out any way to make a single dime out of this; so don’t be worried about me asking you for money. But don’t get me wrong: I’m not opposed to me making dimes and dollars from this; I just don’t see how it’s going to happen.
Thanks for bein’ here. Come back again sometime.