I don’t mean to toot my own horn or yodel my own praise or even really gargle in a particular fashion that might somehow be construed by some as boasting, but this is kind of a special column for me.  There’s no need to sound the fanfare or take the afternoon off to celebrate my accomplishments from the mountaintops or anything, but for what it’s worth – this column that you’re reading right now is the 400th humor column that I’ve ever written!

I know – right?!

That really is a lot of writing – almost 10 years worth, to be exact!  Or to put it in perspective if you’ve been following along since the very beginning, that’s…

As you might imagine, once I realized that this week’s column would be my 400th, the obvious question was – how did I get here? Well, at least after first asking, “So do I get some sort of trophy??? anyways, and surprisingly, the answer was right there at the top of the 600-page stack of paper that my columns would take up if you were to print out every single one of them on your printer at home.  Which by the way – please don’t, as it would be an enormous waste of paper, and besides, that’s kind of why I’ve got books for sale over there in my store, but regardless, the way I managed to build up an archive of 400 columns over the last 10 years can actually be summed up pretty succinctly into a mere three simple words:

Just keep writing.

Yes, I’m ripping off the line from Finding Nemo, but it also applies here and I’m sure that that little fish would totally understand!

You don’t have to ask me twice for me to tell you that this has been a long road, and it certainly hasn’t always been easy along the way.  There are plenty of times when I sit down at the keyboard and frankly, I just don’t feel funny, and nothing seems funny around me, and sometimes I’ll spend hours at a time just staring at the screen or surfing the internet or getting up to get a drink of water for the fifth time in a row, all in hopes that eventually I’ll think of something funny to write about…

And arguably, I’m sure my critics will be quick to say that they’re still waiting for me to find something funny to write about, but the most important thing is, as sappy as it very well may sound, that I always just kept on writing and never gave up.  No matter how much I didn’t want to write, or didn’t think something is funny, or really, really just wanted to curl up in a ball and cry myself to sleep every time I saw those deadlines rapidly approaching – just keep writing. It’s not always going to be a good, old hilarious romp from pencil down to pencil up – in fact, sometimes trying to be creative can be a downright miserable process that feels like it’s never going to end … but you keep on going anyways and eventually, it does and you finally get to move on to the next thing.

As much as it pains me to make this analogy because it makes me feel really old, at the end of 10 years all of that frustration and self doubt and fear of never writing another funny thing in your life is really just static, and as long as I can continue to look back across my archives and see more columns than not that still bring a smile to my own face when I go back and read them over again, that’s good enough for me and it gives me enough to keep pushing and creating new things each and every week.  And of course, with any luck hopefully there are still a few of you out there who find similar chuckles when they take a few moments of their day to go back and re-read an old classic as well, too!

But enough about the past for now – it’s time to get back to work and start thinking about column number 401.  A special thanks to everyone who’s laughed along with me thus far – 2011 has been one of my favorite years for The Humor Column to date, but next year will be even better…