The most frequent question I am asked by people who know that I write a weekly column is “Where do you get your ideas?” One writer who was asked that question answered, “Ideas are easy; writing is hard.” That’s as good an answer as any. I get lots of ideas that I think might make an interesting column, but when I sit down to expand on them, they go nowhere. Consequently, at the end of a calendar year, I’m left with several short, unrelated fragments. So, at the beginning of each year, I clean out my files by publishing a few.

Some years ago, I offended a group of prominent businessmen by turning down their invitation to speak at their monthly meeting. Or I should say, they turned me down. When the program director called with the initiation, I asked how many people would be in the audience, He said the group usually numbered around 40 or 50. Then I told him that I charged a small fee for speaking – in this case it would be $50. “For what?” the caller asked.