Don’t bring any food around here, or I might have to use my free killin’ on you.

Everyone in Cherokee County gets a free killin’, and though I’ve been tempted, I’ve never used mine. Not yet.

Since threats don’t seem to work when people are trying to manipulate us into doing or seeing things their way, a lot of the area’s gentler, kinder folk have resorted to bribery. We’re talking about innocuous, small-time stuff – just tokens of esteem, nothing illegal. And our benefactors aren’t intent on holding crimes out of the paper, or fabricating positive press about ne’er-do-well friends and relatives. Call it good public relations – messages to remind us to think fondly of a particular person or entity. Or to send out a reporter when the time is ripe.

Media companies know about these “gifts,” and that’s how they’re labeled in policy manuals. There are limits to what we can accept as gifts. Logo T-shirts or ink pens, a platter of Christmas candy, a personalized notebook or a desk calendar – OK. Fur coats, new cars, diamond pendants and stacks of $20 bills –not so much. That might tempt us to compromise our integrity. By making the offer, the donor has already compromised his.

Since we live in an impoverished area, and since we aren’t in a position to help anyone in any truly profitable way, most “gifts” we receive are of the consumable variety. Most of the givers aren’t after anything, either; they’re just being nice. Believe it or not, some people really do like us, or at least pretend to.

By “consumable,” incidentally, I do not mean something that, over time, is  depleted or used up. I mean something that can literally be gobbled down with nary a crumb to spare.

Therein lies the rub. I don’t need these consumable goods. I certainly did not need the Girl Scout cookies that came our way last week, although I was in line for the feast. The first to go were the Samoas, in honor of former staff member Eddie Glenn, who inhales a truckload or two of those during every selling season.

I had rebounded and was doing well on my diet last week until Thursday, when Staff Writer Josh Newton slid into the building with two boxes of pastries: chocolate twists in one, maple bars in the other. That was also our publisher’s birthday, and she jokingly claimed them as birthday gifts, but much to my chagrin, she did not take them into her office. Some thoughtful individual also brought her one of those cookie-cakes, each thin slice of which is worth a day’s calorie intake.

I’m one of those people who, if I blow my diet on the down-side of Hump Day, just considers it blown for the week. So this coming Monday, I have to start over again. I’m not doing anyone any favors, so don’t even think about lurking around here with a slice of pizza, bag of candy, or piece of cake.

My luck, and David Moore will get behind again. For those don’t know, David is the Chamber of Commerce director, and he’s notorious for turning in press releases way after deadline. He usually tries to soften the blow by bringing us doughnuts.

All I can say is, if he’s got any press releases next week, he’d better get them to me on time. I’m not biting.

Kim Poindexter is a perpetual dieter and managing editor of the Tahlequah Daily Press.

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