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Having the last word requires a dictionary and 3 z’s

Smedley

It’s been a thrill and honor to write Action Line for the past 16 years. But all good things must come to an end.

This is my final Action Line column.

There. Those Seven Words were penned a couple of years ago – for when the time was right.

Sadly, the time is wrong. Action Line should have quit on top rather than ending after writing the worst column ever.

For so many Mondays (or weekends for today’s print subscribers), Action Line attempted to amuse and enlighten while being snarky and a bit pointed.

Most times it worked. When it failed, like last week’s debacle, it’s public and painful.

Being stupid can be enlightening. It makes you stop and re-evaluate.

Thus, it’s time for those Seven Words.

If not now, when? For the record, it was my call.

Honestly, an exit has been in the cards for a while. It took a blowup to play that hand.

That said, I wanted to use this final space to thank each and every one of you.

Longtime readers will also notice that this is the first time Action Line has used the pronoun “I.”

I wanted the goodbye to be personal.

To the long-suffering staff of The Durango Herald, especially Richard Ballantine, thank you for putting up with me.

In case you didn’t know, I moved to Durango because of the newspaper, working as assistant news editor and then news editor from 1984 to 1989.

In my heart, I’m still an ink-stained wretch who loves the smell of fresh newsprint.

But the soul of the column has always been you, loyal readers and supporting subscribers.

In all the years, there was never an Action Line question totally made up. Some were combined, edited or clarified. But never conjured from scratch. All were from readers.

I know some of you will not believe that. But the bizarre nature of Durango kept the ol’ Mea Culpa Mailbag filled with material and the Christmas doggerel barking with balderdash.

Of course, with every question asked, there needs to be an authoritative answer, generally from a public official or spokesperson who earned the title “Our Good Friend.”

Thanks to many, many Good Friends over the years: Cathy, Joe, Lisa, Nancy, Bob, Ron, Steve, Matt, Leo, Julie, Gwen, Sweetie, Dick, Christina, Amos and a host of others, whose job description did not include “having to talk with Action Line.”

But some of the best material came from a network of either anonymous workers, scofflaws or interlopers.

Thank you for all the inside scoops. You folks know who you are! Your secret is still safe with me.

And, of course, the biggest thank you of all goes to Mrs. Action Line.

How or why she tolerates me is a lesson in patience, kindness and love.

For Mrs. Action Line, I am eternally blessed.

And now, you can all simply call her Amy. Please.

That pretty much settles it. Thanks again for 16 awesome years.

Any unfinished business? One last thing.

Along with writing those Seven Words announcing the end of the column, I also pre-wrote the conclusion.

Allow Action Line to end his run with the very last entry in the dictionary.

It’s a name for any of various South American weevils.

“Zyzzyvas.”

Looks like we’ve run out of words.

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