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DeWese--Special Day Brings Thoughts of the Future

August 2000
Another one of my stupid birthdays happened, as it does every year, on June 30th. It was my 58th birthday!

The good news is that, at 58, I am healthy enough to have passed a physical to buy another $2 million in life insurance. The agent has already delivered the policy and I've paid the first year's premium. I'm kind of an insurance junky. I'm insured for everything. Insurance agents hear my name and they drool.

The bad news is that I wrote my first Printing Impressions column 16 years ago when I was 42 and still had a flat belly. Sixteen years writing this column every month, and still no Pulitzer Prize. More than 220,000 words and my picture has never once been on the cover. Of course, now I'm too big

to fit on the already extra-sized cover. Maybe they could fit me on one of those two-page centerfolds? In 1984, I would have easily fit on one page.

The good news is that I still have a lot to do; so at this advanced age, there's no thought of retirement meandering around my head. I'm a horrible vacationer, so I know I would be a bad retiree. I'm supposed to be on vacation as I write this column, but I keep calling the office to get my voice mail. The office is forwarding my e-mail to this laptop and I even bought a lightweight fax machine to bring on the trip.

Here are some of the things I'd like to do before my family collects all those life insurance checks.

I've given money to Habitat for Humanity, but I've never helped build one of the houses. If Jimmy and Roslyn Carter can put on their jeans and drive nails, so can I. Except, of course, I won't be wearing jeans. Fifty-eight-year-old fat guys shouldn't be wearing jeans.

They'd be happy to have me. I'm also a hardware store junky and I've got great power tools. Of course, I can't use any of them very well and I'm prone to accidents that require stitches. Habitat for Humanity will probably assign me jobs like nail counting and water bucket filling.

Before I croak, I want to establish some system for accurately tracking the performance of the printing industry on a segment-by-segment basis. There is far too much generalized disinformation about the growth and profitability of the printing industry—and bad information adversely affects both privately held companies and publicly held ones.
 

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