"What's been going on in your life?" my co-worker asked the question, not necessarily nibbing for an answer but for inspiration.
My inspiration, that is, since I lamented out loud on the eve of column writing day that I wasn't sure what I would write about in today's column space, and it was a priority on my list of things to do that morning.
So copy editor/online blogger/longtime co-worker Paul Giannamore, who sits behind me in a row of five copy desk stations, heard me thinking out loud and was just trying to be helpful.
I thought about his suggestion but nixed it mighty quick. My life is pretty much get up, go to work, come home, go to bed, get up, go to work. Repeat procedure.
You hear about all that stuff all the time. Pretty boring.
"Nahhh, that's no good," I muttered.
There was a pause - a pause I interpreted as end of discussion.
I was wrong.
"When was the last time you looked up a word in a real dictionary?"
I thought maybe he was talking to someone else or himself as he tends to do. He wasn't on either count.
I turned around and realized he was still in be-helpful-to-your-coworker mode. I gave him the "huh?" look.
"You mean as opposed to using a fake dictionary?" I asked.
"As opposed to an online dictionary," he said.
That might be more boring than my life.
"Nahhh," came my unwelcoming response.
"OK, OK," he said, realizing Idea No. 2 had been shot down.
Not easily defeated, however, he offered a third suggestion without much intermission and with even less thought.
"Do you have a fear of fashion shows?"
I turned around for another "huh" look.
"Well, you're in fashion shows all the time. I thought maybe..."
I shook my head. Poor Paul needs a vacation, I'm thinking. Or maybe I should sit somewhere else.
"The old Toronto High School was torn down. Does that mean anything to you?" he brightened.
"I went to JU, Paul," I reminded him.
"Yeah, but you used to cover Toronto," he shot back.
"I don't think I can muster 500 words of humor on a school being bulldozed," I told him.
"How do you feel about it being 30 days until the pitchers and catchers report for Pirates spring training?"
His voice sounded so hopeful.
Granted, that's a pretty inspiring topic, but I gave it the old "nahhhh" just-not-feelin'-it response.
Defeated again, my co-worker headed off to lunch, but I faced deadline reality on a note of confidence.
Not to worry. I'll think of something to write about.
(Kiaski, a resident of Steubenville, is a staff columnist and features writer for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and community editor for the Herald-Star. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)