Rifle humorist publishes book of columns
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – While reading Heidi Rice’s wacky, weekly humor column you may ask yourself: Does she like to embellish?”Oh, you’re damn right I do!” she replied, with that hearty laugh of hers.
Come on, that’s the fun of “Fried Rice.” For the last 10 years, Rice’s Post Independent column has colorfully discussed all aspects of her daily life, from the perils of office parties to the “joys” of owning thong underwear. Outweighing all other subjects, however, is her husband, Paul – affectionately dubbed Husband-Head – who never ceases to provide a good story. He’s been the star of the majority of Rice’s columns, and her new “best of” book is no different. Even its title, “Skully Says Shut It!: Life, Love and Laughter with Husband-Head,” pays tribute to the guy, with whom Rice has spent the last 17 years – 14 of them married.”We have a really strong relationship, and he’s a really good sport,” she said.He’d have to be. Many of the book’s 60 columns are drop-dead honest about his quirks – with just a touch of creative liberty, of course. She estimates that about 10 percent of a typical column is made-up, while the other 90 is pure Husband-Head. In print, she describes how he grunts with glee while watching football, and how, at times, he chooses to speak to her through a little ceramic skull he calls “Skully.” There are instances when Rice does seem frustrated or embarrassed by his actions, but she’s never mean. She’s not laughing at him, she explained. She clearly loves him too much for that.”I’m laughing with him, because he’s so funny,” she said.Then she added, a moment later, “Without him, I wouldn’t have a column.”Rice not being “Fried” is hard to imagine – probably as much for her as for her fans. She said she “blames” former Glenwood Post editor Dennis Webb for getting her started on this whole thing. In the beginning, it was a bit racier, and Rice joked about the many letters to the editor it prompted. In years since, after 500-plus columns, it’s settled into a slightly tamer, comfortable notoriety. Although it’s obviously well-known around these parts, its effects have also been further reaching. In 2006, a Fried Rice column sparked the interest of a “Dateline NBC” producer, who then recruited Rice and an unsuspecting Husband-Head for a hidden camera episode dedicated to “football widows.”
That’s definitely worth a watch on YouTube, by the way. Rice is obviously proud of it, too, as a link to the show can be found on her website.As a reporter for the Post Independent and The Citizen Telegram, she works from home, and likes to spend an entire day crafting a column. Sometimes they come to her easily, and sometimes they’re painfully difficult, yet she faithfully creates a new one each week. Despite all this effort, and despite the eight awards she’s won for the column, and despite the praise she gets for it, she still seems a little surprised at its popularity.Why do people like it so much, she was asked.”I have no idea!” she replied, continuing to laugh.But she’s also clearly happy about it. When she was strictly a news reporter (she worked at the Boston Herald, San Francisco Chronicle, Durango Herald and more before coming to the then-Glenwood Post), she never really had an opportunity to dabble in humor. This has been her chance. Normally, she’s doing stories that contain AP Style, bona fide sources and an absolute lack of bias. In her column, though, she can dive right into writing without so much as a plan. Since 1998, she’s had a place to let down her hair.”I just kind of started being myself,” she said, of those early days.Thankfully, for readers, she hasn’t stopped.
Contact Stina Sieg: firstname.lastname@example.orgPost Independent Glenwood Springs CO Colorado
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