By Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard
Posted: 07/25/2010 01:30:27 AM PDT
Editor's Note: It's been two years since Dave Stancliff became a regular fixture on the Sunday opinion page. In that time, he's generated a great deal of discussion, positive feedback and more than a few angry phone calls. The latter, to most columnists, is almost better than a compliment. Happy anniversary Dave.
First off, no one asked me to give the genesis of this column, but I couldn't think of anything else to write about this week. (comedic pause ... )
”As It Stands” has been featured in the Times-Standard's Sunday opinion page since July 27, 2008. I'd let its anniversary slip by without comment last July. I'm not sure why. More than likely, I plain forgot to note the milestone.
I thought about leading off this column by saying my faithful legions of readers have petitioned me for its history. The problem is, the only regular readers I can think of are either related or friends!
I'm not going to let that discourage me. “As It Stands” was unveiled in 1976 while I was on the editorial staff of The Hornet Newspaper, a campus publication for Fullerton Community College. Instead of my photo by the column, I drew two cartoon legs (cut off at the knee) ending in feet with big gnarly toes. It was really ridiculous and readers loved it.
The next time my column publicly surfaced was in 1981, when I was editor of a little weekly newspaper called The Desert Trail. I had to tone it down from the college version, but still used it as a way of to reach out to readers with an informal platform. Some even called it “folksy.”
That platform became more political over the years, and my usual bizarre and humorous topics gave way to questioning politicians in local government and making observations on national politics.
When I quit writing the column in 1991, I was the managing editor of a group of newspapers (Post Newspapers based in Palm Desert) and was “burned out.” I went to the VA for help. At the time, I didn't realize I had PTSD. I was totally unprepared for the vivid flashbacks that often landed me back in the steaming jungles of Vietnam and Cambodia.