An excerpt from ‘Humor at the Speed of Life’ by Ned Hickson


I believe some introductions are in order. And by that, I mean the introduction in my book, which seems like a good place to start. Given that Humor at the Speed of Life is a collection of my newspaper columns, I felt the need to give readers a little background as a jumping off point. Hoping, of course, that they weren’t reading it while perched on the ledge of a building…



After 15 years as a humor columnist, it finally hit me. And by that I mean my editor’s stapler. She had been threatening to throw it since 2004, when I first discovered the secret candy drawer she had cleverly labeled: Extra Work for Reporters. For the past nine years she had been warning me, “If you don’t stay out of my candy drawer, I am going to set this thing for ‘stun’ and hurl it at you!”

As I sat there, blurry-eyed and rubbing the back of my head, I came to an important and potentially life-changing realization:

I really need to publish this book now, before she gets a new stapler.

Once my editor replenished her candy stash, there was a good chance another direct hit would result in serious brain damage, ending my career as a journalist and leaving me to write for daytime television. The truth is, readers have been asking me for years to compile a book of columns. As one reader from Gwynette, GA., wrote in, “If you ever come here for a book signing, you better have pastries or something.”

When you receive that kind of validation from readers, you don’t want to let them down. With that in mind — and a week’s worth of medical leave — I began sifting through more than a decade’s worth of columns written since I began here at Siuslaw News in 1998. Many of the columns in this book appeared long before syndication; a few never saw publication at all (probably for good reason); and at least one got published only because my editor was on vacation.

You’ll find this book has been divided into six sections, making it easy to find columns tailored to meet your specific reading needs. For example, let’s say you’re looking for three good reasons to avoid any monkey with a pet Chihuahua? That would obviously be a hard-hitting news story, and therefore is in the section:

This is Why I Became a Journalist (I meant that as a question)

Or let’s say you want know if today’s tougher tax laws will let you depreciate your ostrich?

If you answered:

Social Trends (and other frightening anomalies) for $100 then you are absolutely correct!

But you really need to cut back on the Jeopardy! watching.

Other sections include:

Women Are From Venus and Men Won’t Ask for Directions
(Observations and insights that have gotten me into trouble)

Inspirational Holiday Columns That proved life threatening
(Hey, even the NRA fears the National Fruitcake Lovers Society)

Parenting Is as Easy as One, Two… Scream
(My fountain of knowledge on parenting is an open bar book.)

Why Is the Dog Wearing Cowboy Boots?
(They say pets help us live longer. “They” haven’t met our dog)”

So, brace yourself.

In the pages of Humor at the Speed of Life you will find what represents my body of work as a humor columnist.

My apologies in advance for not getting to the gym more often…

— Ned
Florence, Oregon



Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. This has been an excerpt from His first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available from Port Hole Publications, or Barnes & Noble.

19 thoughts on “An excerpt from ‘Humor at the Speed of Life’ by Ned Hickson

  1. Ha! So funny! Your chapters headings are hysterical, making me want to read each and every one. And the hook is fantastic. Quite clever indeed, Ned. Now, I have to buy this book! Well done. I’m not easily sucked in.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There are some days when I think you just might be the funniest man on the planet, Ned. Then there are others when I KNOW you are! 😀 So glad you finally had time to share with us. Folks…READ the BOOK! It’s hilarious!

    Thanks, Ned, for being so supportive of this blog, and for offering us not only great advice, but great opportunities to laugh at the world and ourselves. You ROCK!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Concerning the issue of how today’s tougher tax laws might affect the depreciation of an ostrich: I’m pretty sure the only reason why so many Americans don’t own an ostrich in the first place is that they’ve never been offered one for only $2.99 down and easy weekly payments.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Kept me smiling the entire time! I’m from South Florida and have read a lot of Dave Barry – you two could go on tour together. (You’re both so good I don’t know how you would determine who’s the headliner.)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much, Louis. I have to say, it wasn’t until my third year as a columnist and hearing the comparisons to Dave Barry that I finally found out who he was. I read his stuff, loved it, and have been a fan ever since — so I truly appreciate the compliment.

      And although I haven’t won a Pulitzer, I did win the coveted “Putzler Award” for most spelling errors once. So yeah… deciding on the headliner would be tough 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hahaha. I never knew were a Putzler winner, Ned. You’ve been holding out on us! And Louis, I’m a HUGE Dave Barry fan. Oh, wait. That means I’m huge. And a Dave Barry fan. Hmm. That pretty much works, too, I guess. 😀 But you know what I mean. I have loved Dave Barry for years and years, and when I found Ned’s blog, I was reminded of him, too. But even though Ned is just as funny, and has a similar way with words, he’s also one of a kind, with his own unique viewpoint on the world. Aren’t we lucky to have BOTH of them to read? As for headlining, I’m going to give the edge to Ned for two reasons. One, Dave Barry has never won a Putzler. And two, Dave Barry doesn’t follow The Write Stuff. 😀 Ned wins!

        Liked by 2 people

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