Some years ago, I received an email from a reader who wanted to know how I got to write a column in a newspaper and how he might go about getting his own column. What he meant to say was, “Why would anyone give you space to write a column and not me?” This sentiment is completely understandable but, frankly speaking, life is not fair.

I replied that getting to write a column for a newspaper was easy and anybody can do it. How I went about it was straightforward. After taking writing classes in school, I opted to practice by keeping a daily journal: a notebook, which I did for maybe 35 years — and still do. Eventually finding that I needed an outlet for my writing, I started publishing a newsletter. (It doesn’t really matter what the subject is as long as you write. Mine was about the National Toboggan Championships although it easily could have been about cordless hammer-drills or exotic lingerie.) This went on for another 15 years while writing letters to editors and a stray article here and there before someone at a local newspaper noticed and asked me to submit a review of the annual toboggan championship. My article was well received so they offered to see how a regular column might go over with their readers and I have been writing that column ever since. As you can see, it was easy.

At the time I agreed to write the column, I met with the publisher, Alice McFadden, and some of her cohorts. She laid out what she wanted, Perry White style, and I agreed but warned that I would write only 500 columns. Oh, we all had a good laugh after that comment because writing 500 columns just wasn’t within anyone’s realm of possibilities, including mine.

Well, in case you’ve been wondering exactly what I’ve been doing these last 500 weeks, take a guess. Here we are: at 500 columns.

People ask how I could manage to produce so many articles. I must say it’s just like writing a high school essay only there is one due every week for 500 weeks straight. There is no parole or time off for good behavior. It sounds like hell, but indeed hell is marginally worse since the essays are due every week, for eternity.

Furthermore, all of the excuses you used in high school for not getting your homework submitted are no longer valid. The dog never eats your column, you never forget that it is due, you can’t lose it and “I didn’t have time to finish it” just doesn’t cut it with Perry White.

Also, it’s getting more difficult to wring out the humor in today’s world when finding the comedy in current events is more important than ever before. I can list more than 10 very unfunny potentially fatal threats to the survival of civilization, most of which are not even on the average person’s radar. It makes me wonder what’s really important.

So, taking all that into account, this is my last regular, weekly column.

But, after having been given the privilege of writing my own column, it certainly wouldn’t be gracious to just up and quit like it wasn’t anything special. Thankfully, the present-day editors have consented to run what words I may assemble, on a more informal schedule, like when my train of thought bridges my stream of consciousness. So, you aren’t rid of me just yet.

And I’m somewhat embarrassed to say — because I’m sure ego and self-puffery have something to do with it — but there is a book of selected columns in the works. It’s my wife’s doing since she can never find the old column she may want to reference and there is so little space on the refrigerator for pieces clipped from the paper.

Newspapers are disposable but books are more durable. People generally won’t use a book for fire starter even when finished with it. The last book with my name on it (titled “On the Road to Tok and Other Photographic Travesties”) can now be picked up at thrift shops and roadside yard sales. Yes, I’ve heard that it’s sometimes in the “free” pile but my point is, it still persists.

And don’t worry, we’re holding back on the chemistry, construction, math, tools and physics columns, as my wife advised, so as not to scare off the children and other innocents. That’s a collection for another time.

And, for those of you that might carefully follow each column, in my mailbox today I found a bulky but small envelope from Pen Bay Medical Center. Those are the people that patched me up by putting staples in my head recently after I did not fall off a ladder. The only thing in the envelope was a lollipop. Thank you for the laugh. And, thanks again for putting my Humpty Dumpty head back together again.

My gratitude to The Free Press for finding me in that snow bank and for having the hutzpah (chutzpah … chutzpa … shamelessness; I still can’t spell) to publish my musings, and thank you to all for reading my regular column. Perhaps I can interest you in my irregular columns to come.

Stay healthy, stay good looking and watch out for 2021.