A Weekly Column
By Joseph Walker


I donít mean to bore you with my problems, but . . . Iíve got one.

You see, when you write a weekly column like this one, youíve always got to be mindful of the various deadlines of the newspapers for which you are writing. And for me that means writing a piece that I know wonít reach some of my readers for a couple of weeks, which makes it difficult to respond to late-breaking news and events.

Take this weekís column, for example. Iím writing it on March 17, just a few hours after President Bush has publicly given Saddam Hussein 48 hours to leave Iraq Ė or else. By the time most of you read this youíll know whether or not that deadline passed peacefully. But as I write this, I donít. Youíre living in a world that may have been reshaped by cataclysmic events that I can only speculate about from the limited perspective of my present Ė and your past.

So itís tough to know what to write about. A discussion of parenting techniques may be sort of irrelevant if mothers and fathers are dying in the desert. And a discussion of the horrors of war may mean little if a workable peace has been achieved.

See what I mean? Itís frustrating Ė and a little scary. I mean, Iím talking to people in the future. So much could happen between now and the time you read this, the world may be a completely different place.

Not that thatís necessarily a bad thing. In fact, there are a whole bunch of things I sincerely hope have happened between my "now" and your "now." For example:

I hope more parents have figured out you really canít have "quality time" without some "quantity time."

I hope cancer and AIDS have gone the way of polio and the plague.

I hope scientists have discovered a way to make it so eating a two-pound box of chocolates only puts two pounds on you Ė not 20.

I hope Elizabeth Smart was the just the first of many missing children who suddenly, miraculously have been found.

I hope freedom fries taste just like French fries.

I hope teachers, police officers, fire fighters and military men and women are valued more, and professional athletes, entertainers and business tycoons are valued less.

I hope weíve stopped killing each other in our homes and communities.

I hope my bank is still in business.

I hope homemakers no longer have to explain why they donít "work."

I hope reality TV has run its course.

I hope everyone has food to eat, clothes to wear and a place to live.

I hope racism, bigotry and intolerance are just vocabulary words on a history test, having been replaced in current cultural mores by an increase of respect, appreciation and love.

I hope Hollywood has figured out that there are more effective and creative ways to portray a tender, loving relationship between two people than showing them chewing on each other while doing pairs gymnastics between the sheets.

I hope we are safe and warm and comfortable.

And I hope that as you read this March Madness is our greatest national concern.

Too much to hope for in just a few days? Perhaps. So maybe Iíll just keep hoping for peace today.

My today and yours.

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--- © Joseph Walker


Look for Joe's book, "How Can You Mend a Broken Spleen? Home Remedies for an Ailing World." It is available on-line through