I’M GOING to have my agent renegotiate my contract with this newspaper.

Every night, I watch these Major League Baseball starting pitchers work six or seven innings and then they head for the showers. They sit around in the clubhouse the rest of the night and watch the game on TV.

Some of these guys pitch only four or five innings. They get to 100 pitches and they’re done. Then a relief pitcher comes in and takes over.

Well, the other night I started thinking. If these pitchers only pitch half or two-thirds of a baseball game, why should I be expected to write an entire column? I think the newspaper should provide me with a closer.

Teams put a pitch limit on pitchers to prevent them from hurting their arms. Too many pitches on any given day could cause tendon problems in a hurler’s elbow.

Well, what about me? I sit here and peck away with two fingers to write an entire column. What about the tendons in my elbows or my finger muscles? I might get carpel tunnel syndrome or something. My leg could even cramp up from sitting in front of the computer too long.

What about my vision? Writing an entire column can cause eye strain. This is especially troublesome when I can’t think of anything to write, when I just sit and stare at a blank computer monitor.

Then there is my brain. Writing half or two-thirds of a column isn’t too taxing, but I really have to think to come up with an entire column. Some readers say I don’t have a brain to begin with. Writing an entire column is taxing what little gray matter I have up there.

They put pitchers on a 100-pitch limit, so I’m going to have my agent renegotiate my contract and have me put on a 600-word-per-column limit. Like big-league pitchers, I’ll start the job, but I’ll leave it to somebody else to come in and finish it.

In fact, I think this is a pretty good idea for every profession. Teachers could have a substitute come in and teach their last class of the day.

If a lawyer gets past his word limit while defending you in a criminal trial, you have to bring in another barrister to finish up.

And if a contractor is re-roofing your house, he should be limited in the number of shingles he is expected to nail in place. When he reaches that number, he just climbs down and tells you to find someone else to finish up. Staying up there on that roof too long in the hot sun could cause heatstroke.

That’s the way it is these days. This business of finishing what you start is a worn-out, antiquated idea. You just work until you feel you have done enough and then you leave the rest of the job to someone else.

So do like me. Have your agent go to your boss and demand that you not be forced to do but half or two-thirds of your job. But be sure your agent makes it clear that you are not forced to take a cut in pay for doing less work. That’s the way it is in Major League Baseball.

Hey! I’m at my word limit. My fingers are getting tired and I feel a twinge in my elbow. My eyes are tired and I’m starting to blink. And my tired brain is causing my mind to wander.

OK, that’s it! I’m at my 600-word limit. It is time for me to .

Donnie Johnston: djohn40330@aol.com

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