Editor’s note: This column is a collaborative effort between the La Jolla Light’s Inga, and Laura Walcher, humor columnist at the Presidio Sentinel. It is running simultaneously in both papers.
Inga: At the San Diego Press Club Journalism Awards in 2010, the first year that my column in the Light was eligible, I won second place in the Humor division after Laura Walcher, who writes for the Presidio Sentinel. Sensing (correctly) that she would continue to be my chief competition, I hunted her down, er, looked her up, and invited her for coffee. Annoyingly, she was incredibly nice, and as she had been in the column biz a lot longer than I had, even shared some hot tips.
Inga: We put each other on our distribution lists. This was not altogether a great idea. One of Laura’s pieces would show up in my In-box and I’d laugh myself silly, followed by a sober realization: Dang! I just lost again! And sure enough, in 2011, she was again first and I was (again) second. Was I simply going to have to outlive her to ever get first?
Now, I suppose I should have been happy with second, but I’m a veteran of many years of youth sports. Second is the first loser.
Laura: “First” is SO my favorite! If you’re going to win first, best that you boot some super contender — that’s so satisfying!
Inga: Our awards are judged by a press club in another city to avoid all the ugly politics that are rampant in, well, politics. Laura’s style couldn’t be more different than mine, definitely more highbrow. I feared that some stuffy press club with pretentions, like San Francisco, was probably judging ours (I don’t think they even HAVE a Humor category) and I was doomed in perpetuity. The awards committee won’t reveal which club does the judging, probably to avoid the potential of mail bombs from people who come in second (not mentioning any names). But surely Arkansas has a press club? I could totally take Laura down.
Laura: I am SO excited. “Highbrow” is just not a word that normally describes me …? Must be my New York City origins? Or, Inga just has more courage: she sends up her neighbors, friends, family, pets SO high … mine would stop talking to me altogether. Besides, mine provide less “material” all the time; now that my grandchildren are teenagers, they’re just NOT THAT FUNNY ANYMORE.
Inga: Fortunately, the kids live out of town and Olof is simply resigned to being fodder. The neighbor whose sex life I wrote about used it to pimp dates. The pets have retained counsel.
Laura: The thing we have in common, though, is that we never write fiction. Life provides. What worries me, though, is that, one of these days, she could have better material — I mean, just TAKE Olof, her husband; he’s such a source. (“Olof” — ? Hmm, to preserve the marriage, that name might be “fiction.”)
Inga: The 2012 San Diego Press Club Awards event took place Oct. 23 and Laura was one of the first people I saw when I got there. I thought I had some strong contenders (the Humor category is judged on individual columns) but so did she. This year, I got first and she got second. I figured that if I couldn’t be a gracious loser, I could at least be a gracious winner. I gave her my heartiest (nyeh nyeh) congratulations.
Laura: Well, per chronology, she could outlive me. Then, she can try all my tricks? But now, she’s finally made a serious impression on journalism judges, probably because this year’s judging panels have no sense of humor.
Inga: As for the 2013 Press Club awards? Game on!
— Look for La Jolla resident Inga’s lighthearted looks at life every other week in La Jolla Light. Reach her by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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