Saw an item in this morning’s paper that recounted as how the current Pope has decreed that the Jewish people as a whole weren’t to be held responsible for the crucifixion of Christ. Phew, glad that little matter has been officially cleared up. I guess such news will only be a source of consternation to the Mel Gibsons of the world. Otherwise, “Right on, Mr. Pope.”
But, you know, it is when I look at such news items and others like it I realize I sometimes miss all the years I spent as a newspaper reporter. While reporters in general are among the most reviled excuses for humanity (right after lawyers, I believe) I for one was proud of my calling and got a great deal of pleasure and sense of self-worth from what I did for a living for many years. In that sense I don’t find it surprising that even Superman in his not-saving-the-world and longing to get into Lois Lane’s pink panties, toiled as scribe Clark Kent. We’re worthy, Clark and I.
I liked newspaper work and I liked newspaper people, even the eccentrics, the alcoholics and the morally depraved. I liked them because they worked hard and their task and most of them strove constantly for as much accuracy as they could get in creating a story that would not only be readable but even – and this was sometimes a ‘hoper’ – essentially true. The gems you read in your daily journals were pounded out against tight deadline, uncaring editors (I know that, I was one, and I didn’t care other than that my reporters were meeting their deadlines and weren’t writing shit that was going to get our asses sued off), brutal hangovers and fatigue so intense that nothing much compares with it.
When I left newspapering on a daily basis to enter my current world of freelance scribery I fought against leaving. Not so much leaving the daily stresses of ink-stained wretchery – I once put in an election day at work in which I toiled from 8 a.m. on a Monday to 2 a.m. on Tuesday (pretty impressive, eh? I think it is) – but the matter of no longer being in the ‘know’. If you are a reporter and have been around for a while, you ‘know’ stuff. You are connected.
You not only know stuff to put in your stories, you know stuff you could not ever put in a story unless you worked for the Enquirer and had a retainered team of high-priced lawyers at your beck-and-call. But, knowledge of sleazy factoids made a body feel smug and superior, and that surely is never a bad thing. I knew, for example that a provincial cabinet minister of many years ago liked to frequent escort services and pay for the ‘service’ via government credit card. His favored bit of frolicsomeness was to have the girls – how can I say this delicately? – lose their urinary potty-training skills over him. And we pay our taxes to these bastards?
There was another about a municipal councilor and a big-busted hooker in a raincoat (just a raincoat), but I’ll go no further with that. And it could go on and on, but it won’t. All I know is that after hearing stuff like that I’d go home, take a shower, and feel remarkably akin to Pat Boone in my uprightness of behavior. Oh, and I didn’t have a government credit card at my disposal, either.
Anyway, I’d like to extend my special thanks to the Pope for his gesture and just to say he inspired this blog.