If you are reading this column, then you probably like punishing yourself for no apparent reason.
I will point out that just because you are reading this column does not mean it was written in some piazza in Rome. Far from it, actually. I'm in Jonesboro, and it was written less than 24 hours before I left the country.
Now, my hope is that while I'm in Italy, the country won't break off from Europe, tip over and capsize in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, kinda like the Guam that apparently exists in the mind of U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.). That would be bad.
So, how do I write a column a week in advance, to run while I'm away? It's easy. The same way I wrote a few stories to run in the paper while I was away. I did the super-cram writing session on April 2. I wrote three stories, this column and the Clayton County "School Notebook" on that day, to bank for later publication -- and that was on top of two other stories I wrote for the April 3-4 weekend paper.
The hidden (non)joy of going on vacation when you are a reporter is that you have to bank a boat load of copy for your colleagues to use while you are gone. That way, you guys barely notice I'm gone. In a way, it's like I'm still with you -- like an annoying relative who comes to stay for a few weeks and just refuses to go away.
Aren't you lucky? Don't you just love it?
Actually, let me be serious (believe it or not) when I say that my last day at work before my vacation was no picnic. It was like every other day -- but on a bigger scale.
Look at it this way. If you are lucky, then I did something stupid in Italy, got arrested, and will be stuck in jail for awhile. More than likely, you will not be lucky. I may do stupid things from time to time, but I am no village idiot.
When I get back, you'll have the extra treat of reading about Italy for many weeks to come.
I can hear the groans, all the way from Italy.
Curt Yeomans covers education for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.