2017-06-22 / Opinions

Guest VIEWpoint

Funny thing about being a columnist…


By Kristen Rifenbark By Kristen Rifenbark I have a bookmark-sized clipping from a magazine hanging by my desk at work. I hung it there because it gave little quips of inspiration. One of them, for example, says, “If you’re scared, be grateful.” I’ve been thinking about gratitude a lot lately. I have a lot to be grateful for. We all do, when you think about it. You’ve probably heard someone say at one point or another that there is always someone worse off than you. No matter what issues consume my life, I know that there is, unfortunately, someone who has my same issues but worse or situations that make their circumstances more difficult than mine.

Thinking about gratitude and gratefulness, I want to take this opportunity to express my thankfulness to you, my readers. I can’t tell you how many people have been complimentary to me. My co-workers have sent me emails, have stopped me in the hall and in the lunch line just to share that they’ve read my articles and enjoy them. I always try my best to be thankful and humble. I’ve had everyone from my parents’ friends to my husband’s co-workers compliment me on my columns. The outpouring of kindness makes me blush! I don’t say all of this as a way to brag, but as a way to say that I am grateful for all of the kindness that has been shown to me. For anyone who has ever told me that they enjoy reading my articles, please know that it makes my heart smile that you care enough to read my columns and then to seek me out and share that with me. Too often we get caught up in negativity that we don’t seek out an opportunity to share positivity with one another. Thank you, Readers!

I try to be funny and don’t think I succeed often (even though it is always very funny in my mind), but I thought that another great way to share my gratefulness back to you is to share some of the funny things that people have said to me.

So here goes!

“Why don’t you write anything naughty?” I think the owner of this comment was thinking along the lines of “50 Shades of Grey” naughty. My response (and I don’t think I need to explain) was, “Because my grandparents read my articles!” Enough said.

“You should write about me/us!” I get this sometimes and anyone that I write about I try to be mindful of their privacy and respect them and not publish anything that would put them in a negative light. The best orthodontist in the world (yes, I am a 32-yearold with braces) and the best orthodontic staff in the world were the last people to mention this. They were joking and complimenting me, and it was fun. I didn’t have the heart to say anything in the office because I didn’t want to embarrass my ortho in front of his middle-school patients, but for some reason it doesn’t seem as if this venue will be as bad (hopefully he thinks so, too). I was in a meeting in East Lansing on the MSU campus about a year ago. The gal sitting next to me was from a different company in the same industry as me but we work together at times, and I consider her a friend of mine. As we are listening to the speaker, I received a text message from her. It was a link to a YouTube video of a band with another text that said, “Your orthodontist is hot!” Not at all what I was expecting! It’s a small world; turns out her son-inlaw is a band member of my ortho.

I also get, “Don’t write about me,” or the infamous, “I guess this will be in the paper now.” These always make me crack up, because the majority of the time it’s a situation where a picture would be worth a 1,000 words, and I write for the View. I don’t take pictures. My family will recognize one man I promised wouldn’t be featured in a column, but I’ll otherwise protect his identity. He is not a conspiracy theorist, except he believes the government “watches” us. For example, he doesn’t like Facebook and does not like his picture to be posted on social media by others. He thinks the government is keeping tabs on him. Although we rightfully joke about this with him, we try to respect his wishes. The funny thing is that he is pretty technologically advanced. The first people I knew to have iPads were my daughters, as a gift from my mom and dad, and him. I remember him showing me some of things he does with it, the best thing being FaceTiming with his granddaughters.

In the end, I hope everyone knows how truly grateful and humble I am that so many people share their love and kindness with me. I like to write but, it doesn’t necessarily mean that I am good at it. Hearing others praise my work keeps me going. Thanks for sharing positivity with me as I try to share it with Huron County!

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