For those of you expecting to see Duane Sherrill's face in this spot for his wildly popular Wednesday column, I will borrow a phase from Gomer Pyle, "Surprise, surprise, surprise."
Duane is out of the office enjoying spring break festivities, meaning it's up to me to mimic his playful writing style that has endeared him to readers from Irving College to Centertown.
I realize answering this challenge will not be easy as Duane has a unique way of taking something that can be said in one sentence or two and turning it into a 15 paragraph narrative. I still don't know how he's written an entire column about getting a haircut, but he has that special gift.
Seeking to find inspiration, I've turned to 8-year-old Birmingham, Ala., resident Nia Mya. The child may be young in years, but she's already written a book that's made the Amazon best seller list. This elementary school student must be doing something right.
Her book is titled, "How to Deal With and Care For Your Annoying Little Brother." It's essentially a book on parenting written by a child.
In case you're wondering, the book doesn't have advice that would apply to some Warren County parents, like don't pass out on the sofa while your baby plays in the street in diapers.
But it is filled with shots of wisdom that are remarkable for a child. Nia's best-selling success is so captivating, it's drawn the attention of CBS News.
Turns out, Nia began her writing assignment last year when she was a first-grader. Despite her youth, she managed to deliver some powerful insight about dealing with her 5-year-old brother. Her best words of advice are that it's sometimes helpful to disguise learning as fun.
As for whether she has any luck when giving her little brother advice, Nia said, "He won't always listen."
This is a lesson Nia should recite daily and commit to memory. She should realize it's not just little brothers who won't always listen. I've found it also applies to your friends, your wife, and pretty much everyone in the world.
If Nia thinks her little brother won't listen at 5, just wait till he gets older. I've discovered if I want to get my boys to take out the trash, I should ask them to clean their rooms. If I want them to vacuum, I should ask them to put away their clothes. They seem to have a knack for doing the opposite of what I say.
Nia told CBS she loves being a big sister but admits sometimes she is forced to be stern.
"I will sometimes have to say no," she said. "He will throw the ball and the ball just goes flying everywhere. And sometimes it hits me."
Nia will soon learn life is full of flying balls thrown from every direction. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, they will hit you in the head.
Everyone gets hit sooner or later. The difference is how you react.
Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.