Sunday, May 3, 2020
I had no idea days can be so long. When you work in a newsroom, one of the most-common phrases is when someone looks up at the clock and yells, "How in the hell did it get to be 4'o clock?" When you're the editor of a small-town daily, that is everyday. It's as though 20-30 people need your attention RIGHT NOW at each minute of the day. So your brain teaches itself to constantly reset priorities throughout. Although this is speculation, I'm pretty sure having my shoelaces on fire would fall off the Top 10 list of things I have to fix in the next minute. Let that fire move its way up my pant leg -- right now I have attorney threatening to sue me because of "Garfield." "Sir, are you aware that feeding a cat lasagna would lead to its untimely demise?" Yes sir, but you see that's a syndicated cartoon and meant to be a joke. In the meantime, I have someone on hold who thinks the crossword has clues that are too liberal. Or conservative. Or reading their mind. But God, I love it so. Being a newspaper editor to me is like playing in an improvisational jazz band of the highest nature. On a high wire. While people are shooting arrows at you. And at the end of the day, no matter what -- blizzard, power outage, not enough staff -- we had to have a newspaper put to bed. I've done that about 10,000 times by my count. So as busy as I was today, it stretched. I looked at the time on the computer at one point, tired and ready for bed and thought: Jesus, it's only 2 p.m. Busy it was. I've had so many friends from across the country reaching out to offer help: a place to stay, a little money, some beer. Upland drinking buddy Greg Hanek brought me two Upland beers. I think he had the other two in the four-pack. I talked with old college buddy Dan Parks who is now the editor of the Chronicle of Philanthropy. He was my editor at our college newspaper and I once referred to him in a column as a "strapping Mennonite buck." For the record, he was only two of the three. I caught up on emails and messages, looked for local housing, checked journalismjobs.com and indeed.com -- little if anything on a Sunday. Christ, it was only 4 p.m. I thought about standing on a street corner with a sign: "Will edit for beer." After texting with some friends and journalists, I made my way to Taco Bell -- don't judge me damnit. I had beer and a need for 73-percent meat tacos. It was now 6:30 p.m. when I could enjoy a cocktail and sit down to ruminate and then write. I have struggles but I have blessings. More so than ever, I'm reminded of Miranda in Shakespeare's "The Tempest": "O wonder! How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world That has such people in't!" Thank you for reading, dear friends, far and near.
Posted by _____ at 5:04 PM