Why must towels, curtains always match?

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 21, 2003

The field of journalism takes you places you never knew possible. It also takes you to a whole lot of places.

If, in 1997, I would have sat in Phifer Hall in Tuscaloosa and my editing professor would have told me I would end up in Demopolis as publisher of the newspaper there, I would have kindly offered him a breath mint (because professors seem to need those more than any other class of people I’ve met.)

The process of getting to a publisher’s job wasn’t easy, though &045;&045; whether that meant Demopolis or Denver. In the simplest of explanations, getting to this sort of job includes one minor detail: Moving.

Since 1997, I’ve lived in the following towns: Tuscaloosa, Eufaula, Birmingham, Selma, Montgomery, Selma (again) and now Demopolis. If you’re counting, that’s seven moves in six years.

Well, chalk up another one on the old U-haul scoreboard. This past week, I moved again; and for the first time, I didn’t move into a rental property. I bought a house here in Demopolis.

That means a few things. First (and most importantly), it means I’ve moved eight times in the past six years. Second, it means I’m going to be here for a while. And finally, it means I’m going to sell one of my properly functioning kidneys to begin making payments on the array of "necessities" needed to actually own a house.

Over the past few years &045;&045; seeing that I’ve steered clear of the whole wedded blimp (I mean bliss) thing &045;&045; I’ve discovered I have a great family. In the past half-dozen moves, my dear sister and mother have graciously offered to come spend my money… Pardon, they’ve offered to come help me move.

They’ve packed the same container of lemonade powder four times, they’ve griped about my feeble bed posts since ’98, and they’ve urged me to find a wife. No problem.

Meanwhile, they’ve somehow conned me into purchasing quite necessary items such as "conks" (I can’t find that one in the dictionary), oriental rugs, exotic candle holders, three baker’s rack looking things, and matching coffee and end tables, which also now match the largest of my baker’s rack.

Worst of all, I’ve been duped into buying a new bed comforter each time I move because they "believe" the current one doesn’t "match" the paint on the walls.

Seems to me the problem has come to light. For some reason, the sweet ladies helping me move firmly believe that everything in the entire house must match. And if you’ve moved eight times in six years, you can only imagine why I’ve sometimes wondered if there is a potion I could release on my family that would cause them color blindness for the day or so that they visit me.

Obviously, I wouldn’t wish that on anybody &045;&045; especially my family. At the same time, I wouldn’t wish on any poor person what I’ve gone through in the past seven days.

For starters, I no longer have any money whatsoever (Dear bankers, that’s only a slight joke). Secondly, I no longer feel like a GUY, which is quite important in a young man’s life.

Some of my best guy friends have the perfect living arrangements (and here, we’re obviously talking about my single guy friends).

They have things like fish tanks with no fish. Mine got thrown out in move two.

They have towels that couple as Armor All dispensers. Mine match the blasted shower curtains and apparently must be washed every week.

They have stains on their carpets. My stains get covered with expensive rugs.

They have cool sports posters on their walls. I’ve got scenic views and expensive mirrors on my walls.

They put their personal pictures on magnets and paste them to the refrigerator. I somehow just spent close to 100 bucks for frames that hold pictures of me and my buddies on golf trips.

And worst of all, my guy friends have plastic plants that need as much attention as a brick wall. I now have "real" plants that need water once every other day.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the wonderful help my family offers. I also don’t mind sending them on frantic shopping sprees every nine months or so. But at some point, I’m going to need two houses &045;&045; one where I can be a guy and one where I can take my family.

Regardless of the kidney operation I’ll probably have in the next couple of months, I’m thrilled that my first home purchase is in Demopolis. I’ve got a commitment to this city and to the people here. In the process, I hope my job as the editor and publisher of this newspaper benefits the people who have called this city home for most of their lives.

So until next week, I’ll probably be locked in my house figuring out a way to match my Augusta National picture with one of those conks. Spray paint will work, don’t you think?