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Therein lies the rub

by James Logue

NEWS EDITOR

Here's the deal: I belong to a conference of columnists called The Big Ink. It's a collection of people who write columns and wear really neat T-shirts with The Big Ink logo on it.

I like The Big Ink, but I just received an invitation to join a rival conference of columnists called The Big Stink.

The Big Stink people have promised me more column space, bigger and bolder headlines and monthly foot rubs.

The Big Ink people, on the other hand, have reminded me that I have been in the conference for a long time, and there is such a thing as loyalty and living up to my commitments.

I understand that, but monthly foot rubs -- boy, that's quite an incentive.

I must say, though, that The Big Ink folks have really made me feel guilty. I've been made to feel disloyal and somewhat mercenary.

I understand that loyalty to an organization isn't what it used to be and that I should be true to my word, but ... foot rubs.

They're trying the guilt trip, but The Big Ink honchos are also buttering me up. They've wined and dined me at Denny's and have promised an unlimited supply of punctuation marks.

When I brought up the foot rubs, they just looked at each other. Foot rubs, they said, were out of the question. Next thing you know, other conference members would want body waxing, too.

So now I don't know what to do. The Big Stink offer sounds awfully good, but I'd hurt a lot of feelings in The Big Ink if I left.

I suppose I could avoid both conferences and just be an independent columnist, but then there wouldn't be any foot rubs or unlimited punctuation marks. And what kind of life would that be?

I'll have to sleep on it. If I string them both along, maybe they'll sweeten their deals. Hey, if I'm disloyal and mercenary, I should at least try to do it right.