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Porter: Much adu about nothing

Published: Thursday, May 1, 2014 9:21 p.m. CST

I suppose I should feel flattered, but I feel more pranked.

I got down to Giant City State Park this past weekend for the Southern Illinois Editorial Association’s annual meeting and awards luncheon. I was not a member of that esteemed organization, so I didn’t have any contest entries at stake. However, I thought I might want to join up, and I knew Giant City to have a pretty awesome fried chicken buffet.

When I got there, the group already had elected me secretary of their board. I don’t know how you can elect somebody to a board when he isn’t even a member yet. I have been a member in the past by virtue of working for member newspapers. In light of this development, I told them I was having second thoughts about joining.

Pretty soon, we got to the point in the meeting where some announcements were to be made, and somebody got up and said that I had been asked to serve as secretary and that I had accepted the challenge. I turned to Jennie, my fiancé who had traveled with me, and asked her, “Did you hear me agree to any of this?”

Oh, don’t worry about it, the rest of the people at the table said. They assured me that there is not much to being secretary. “We didn’t even have one last year,” I was told.

Well, those are not the biggest shoes I’ve ever tried to fill. If they just wanted a figurehead, why didn’t they say so? I can do nothing pretty well. As a matter of fact, I have been associated with more than a few people over the years who were experts at doing nothing, so I feel like I have trained with the very best.

I think, as my first order of business before the end of this month, I will do nothing. Then, next month, if I have time, I will do nothing again. I may get ambitious and do nothing two or three times in a single month. Maybe if I do nothing well enough, they’ll double my stipend. Two times zero is still zero. You want to see me in action? How about inaction?

I have a couple of questions remaining. When I do nothing for the SIEA, as opposed to doing nothing for myself or nothing for someone else, to whom do I report? I think someone should be fully informed when I have done nothing. And, who is going to send me flowers on Secretary’s Day? If I’’m going to be secretary, I think I deserve flowers even if I don’t actually do anything.

I won’t be too disappointed if I don’t get flowers because I really don’t want them. I just hope the other SIEA members aren’t too disappointed if I live up to the low expectations set for me. I’m not sure how I could screw this thing up, but the smart money says I can.

• David Porter can be reached at When I find out who was behind this, I’m nominating them for president.

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