A Shot In The Dark

And she said “we must get together”
But I knew it’d never be arranged
And she hands me $20 for a two-fifty fare
And she said “Harry keep the change”
Well another man might have been angry
And another man might have been hurt
But another man never would have let her go
I stashed the bill in my shirt.
-Harry Chapin

It has been over twenty years since I first heard those words. I remember where I was. It was the night of the big dance and my long awaited date with Rabbi Goren’s daughter, Fern. She wore a short, electric blue dress. She was beautiful. But the most memorable part of that cold November evening was hearing Harry Chapin for the first time and how we stayed in the car, silently, until the song ended.

Regular readers of this column know that I have great respect and appreciation for strong emotions painted with words. And yes I do enjoy reading all of the usual suspects, but it is the intense joy, or sorrow, or pain found unexpectedly that has the most impact on me.

Cleveland has been blessed with many great writers and, more importantly, many writers who have done great work. I grab the FREE TIMES each week, just as I had the CLEVELAND EDITION, to read Doug Clarke. Telling us who won and who lost is easy. Mr. Clarke knows why we care. Dick Feagler’s tirades would be easy to dismiss were it not for his ability to grab us with the simple honesty of his emotions. You may disagree with him, but you don’t question his motives.

This column marks my fourth anniversary with Ohio’s Finest Singles. Originally a ten month experiment, A Shot In The Dark has now appeared 44 times. I never expected this to be so much fun. A special thanks to Joyce and Kelly and the rest of the O.F.S. family,

The best part of writing this column has been you, the readers. I thoroughly enjoy your letters and phone calls. I think it is great to have complete strangers stop me on the street or in an office building to discuss a particular column. It can’t get much better than that.

I wanted to publish the first four year’s of A Shot IN The Dark a book titled If YOU Won’t Leave Me, I’ll Find Someone Who Will. The truth is that I’m not a self-help expert (real or imagined) and I sincerely doubt that I could land a book deal. This column has been my take on my life, the people around me, and the major issues of the day. It is cathartic for me and therapeutic for many of you.

So the Hell with the book. By the time the publisher and everyone else took their cut it would cost $20 and even I wouldn’t buy it. And yet, I do get a lot of requests for back columns, especially The Tides and Comfortably Numb. I have a solution. For $5 I will send you a complete set of copies of all forty-four articles. The price includes postage. Such a deal!

I don’t believe that twenty years from now any of you will remember where you were when you read one of my columns (any of them, even this one). But your letters talk of clipping and saving these articles. I just want you to have good copies.