A lot of people have asked me this question all week: "ARE YOU GUYS ON TOP OF THIS NUDIST OLYM-PICK CONVENTION THING IN DARLINGTON!!!!?"

Now, most of the people who have asked me this question have used a very strange high-pitched voice and their eyes were all bugged out like I don't wanna tell you what. But I answered them with diplomacy and reason. When you have been a seasoned professional journalist andaward-winning news hound for as long as I have, you develop a sense for spotting hot news stories on the very cutting edge of journalism,ones that will draw readers to the newstand like bees to honey.


So, naturally I have answered a big 'N-O' to this stupid question.

Let's look at my sound news judgment reasons for this hard-nosednews call:


1.) For one, what's the big deal? Exactly 65 percent of the time that I am in my home, I roam the halls stark naked. That'sbecause I'm so consumed with being on top of the news I have little time for doing laundry. All my clothes stink, so I have nowhere to turn but my birthday suit.

In fact, it's catching on in my quiet little cul-de-sac of a neighborhood. The three little children next doorevery morning race out of the house at about 7 a.m. in their birthday pajamas, screaming

"WATER-SPRINKLER!!" It looks like grand fun and I may join them tomorrow.

2.) Sending a reporter from my staff up to the convention would be impossible. They would be barred from covering (hmmm, is that the right word?) the nudies' Olym-pick events because they could not strip down (as per the media coverage rule at the Big Streak). Virtually every one of my staff is wrapped in some type of bandage due to various and sundry injuries incurred walking down steps, and other activities most humans can do without incident ordanger.

3.) Let's face it, Cheryl Tiegs and Kevin Costner will not be among the campers romping au naturel along the hills and dales of fair Darlington. Our photographers would come back with pictures that could be humorous, humiliating and horrifying of some of the more plump nudists relaxing in the rough on lawn chairs and hammocks aftera few cold ones following the Olym-picks sporting events. Running such pictures would not pass that unshakable tenet of the newspaper business: The Breakfast Test.

4.) Reason No. 4 is what I call the TV-Danger Alert. Whenever one of those fearless powerhouses of journalism, the Baltimore television stations, start covering a story in Harford County, I have my staff run like holy loincloths in the exact opposite direction.

I don't know where these news editors at the TV stations get their training, but it must be partially from Mad magazine. If it's completely stupid and silly and they can tell you about it in 30 seconds or less, and you will forget what they just told you inhalf that time, well then by golly, it's NEWS to them. Which is exactly what one of the anchors for Channell 11 did the other night. He teased the 11 o'clock broadcast with something like "Nudists invade quiet Darlington. Story at 11."

You'd have thought the way his voicerose, it was a pack of South American Killer Bees heading for Darlington, not a bunch of people up for a weekend of pretending they are at Woodstock.


Now, that would be a news story to get me cracking the whip around the newsroom: SOUTH AMERICAN KILLER BEES IN TOWN FOR NUDIST CONVENTION!