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AL GILKES: Would I get a massive search party too?

Al Gilkes, [email protected]

AL GILKES: Would I get a massive search party too?

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I HAD A NOVEL IDEA for today’s column, something that I can’t recall ever having seen done before in any local newspaper.

But before I reveal what I was contemplating let me explain a few things about writing a column.

Columns are a significant element of the journalism palette and perhaps the reason we columnists are so popular is that we have the liberty to write about anything we choose, whether a personal experience, a social, cultural or religious issue, an economic or political subject, providing advice, being a fashion or music critic, regurgitating gossip or whatever.

Although we are so free to write we are still very conscious about putting on paper something that people will want to read by constantly and consistently addressing matters that are topical, current and of general interest.

Like good calypsonians do, we columnists also strive to find good hook lines for our compositions even when, as happens more often than you might think, writer’s block sets in but we must still focus on getting what we write to come across well and not be tasteless or boring.

We are also faced with the imperative to avoid conflicts of interest by steering as clear as possible in our writing from people or interests with whom or which we have close ties. Examples, in my case, would be a company that is a client of my PR consultancy, or the entertainment entity in which I am involved.

So having explained all of that let me get back to the novel idea I had for today. I thought of going in a contrary direction by replacing the maximum number of words needed to fill this space with the minimum to suit my purpose.

Therefore, you would have found an empty white space save for these four solitary words boldly printed in the centre: AL GILKES IS MISSING!

I had an urge to do that because of a nagging curiosity to see how many people would have taken it seriously. Would my phone have started ringing off the hook the moment the first paper came off the Press? Would a massive search party have been forged, comprising a rainbow coalition of all the people I know and who know me across social, class, colour, political, religious and other barriers.

Would my friends in the uniformed forces have sent out their foot soldiers to scour muddy cane fields, deep and rocky gullies, dark and dank caves and any and everywhere else in an attempt to find me.

I didn’t do it because I knew everybody would have wanted to make sure I was found, safe and sound. Then again, do I really know that?