“The enemy of good…is perfect.”


Anyone who has been reading my columns by now knows I love Voltaire – but this quote means a little more to me than most.

When I first arrived at The Lincoln County Journal one year ago, honestly, I had no idea what I was walking into.

I knew the novel coronavirus pandemic was slowly creeping into American life when I was preparing for my transfer from the mountains of Tennessee to Missouri. Nothing prepares you for life in a new area in an unknown time when everyone is scared because they don’t know what’s really going on.

For the first time in my career, I entered a newspaper with nothing to write about. No sports to cover. No news to write about, other than endless stories about COVID-19 for the foreseeable future.

Now let me be clear about this. A journalist with nothing to write about is like a chef with no recipes to cook, a police officer with no crimes to investigate or my fraternity brothers and I driving through a dry county on the way to Florida for Spring Break.

It’s the unthinkable! No freaking way could this ever happen!

However, like the rest of Lincoln County, I survived that calamity. 

I survived the embarrassment of showing up for Winfield’s graduation parade – a day too early. (Who does graduations on a Sunday anyway?)

I survived getting my car stolen, my great-aunt (who was a surrogate grandmother) dying and getting my wallet stolen, all within a six-week period.

One person shouldn’t have that much bad luck. Your name isn’t Shawn Singleton!

I can only hope I treated the first responders with the class and respect they deserve. It was the first time the Journal did such a section, and I had an excellent time doing each story, because each first responder had a different story to tell.

I have survived the same coronavirus that kept me bored the first six weeks I worked in Lincoln County. It’s not like the flu, I promise you!

Truthfully, working every day while in quarantine probably saved my life. I didn’t think about the severity of my illness. I don’t think about anything when I’m writing, maybe to my own detriment, according to my family and what few friends I have left.

I have covered cases that have left me scratching my head in befuddlement. I have covered cases that have left me disgusted, and I have covered cases that have had me calling my family back home, just to hear their voices.

On the other hand, I have covered cases that have had me laughing because of the sheer stupidity of the offenders.

I really do need to learn more about this county. There are 642 square miles of territory in Lincoln County, and assuming I manage not to “disappear” in it, I should be able to traverse most of it in the future.

(By the way, I’m only kidding about the “disappearing” part. Hopefully, you get my sardonic sense of humor by now. Believe it or not, my 11-year-old niece actually gets it.)

I know I haven’t always pleased the public with my reporting – or these columns. That’s not why I got into this line of work. I chose this line of work to inform the community of what’s going on, without an agenda, and I hope I have done that over my first year in Lincoln County.

I have given myself grades over the last year for how I done. I don’t grade on a curve, and I don’t believe in participation trophies, so I would give myself a “C-minus” for my first year here.

Voltaire also said, “perfection is attained by slow degrees…it requires the hand of time.”

Life is too short to attain true perfection. We’re all going to make more mistakes than not. I’m no different.

All I can do my very best – and hope you, the readers of The Lincoln County Journal stay informed.