As a lifelong reporter, my father lived in notepads. All journalists do.
Dad, however, did some serious scribbling. You wouldn’t say he took copious notes because that would be a disservice to dad and the word. It doesn’t come close to dad’s style.
He must have had thousands of notebooks. He kept every one. He numbered every page. On the cover of every pad, he would create a table of contents: pages 4-12, notes on Cobo Hall redesign. Pages 74-96, an interview with Doug Fraser.
Most miraculously, his handwriting was legible. Almost female in its neatness. Former reporters told me when I joined the paper that dad was the paper’s unofficial librarian. If journalists needed to get background on, say, the Cobo redesign, they would go to him before the paper’s library. He was faster. They talked of him diving into a mountain of notebooks, emerging with the request.
Dad believed he never got to the New York Times because of the attention he paid to note taking, culminating in a confrontation with Sen. Ernest Hollings from South Carolina. Hollings made the mistake of wavering in an interview with dad about getting out of the Vietnam War, a view that got him skewered by his hawk supporters.
When Hollings called a hasty press conference to deny ever making the statement, dad showed up — with his notepad. He called Hollings a liar from the press pit. “Well I’ll be goddamned if I’ll have a reporter call me a liar at my own press conference,” Hollings snapped. “I’ll knock your block off.” Dad rushed the stage, was ushered out by security and made the wires, a story I still have.
Donald Trump had better pray James Comey doesn’t have nearly the transcription skills — or temper — of my father. Because president carrot top would get his ass kicked.
He still may. Comey’s testimony last week can’t be seen as good news for the administration. But what even counts for good news now? A mushroom-cloud-free day?
Still, it’s astounding to watch the GOP try to tear down its former top cop. Most peculiar, perhaps, was the counterfeit surprise they expressed about Comey’s presumptions. Why in the world, they wondered, would he take Trump’s spoken desire to see the Russia investigation disappear as nefarious?
Has it come to this? Are we really parsing the language of Mafia wannabes? Nice country ya got here. Shame if something were to happen to it…
Perhaps dad had it right. Some note taking is worth rushing the stage.
Speaking of non-alternative facts:
- Watermelons contain an ingredient called citrulline that can trigger production of a compound that helps relax the body’s blood vessels, just like Viagra.
- Ancient Greeks wouldn’t eat beans as they thought that they contained the souls of the dead.
- The Burj Khalifa is so tall that residents above the 80th floor have to wait 2 to 3 minutes longer to end Ramadan.
- For those who jumped from the WTC on 9/11, the fall lasted 10 seconds. They struck the ground at just under 150 mph, enough to ensure instant death on impact.
- Tigers can, and will, take revenge on those who have wronged them.
- Sweden has their own national font, Sweden Sans, to “unambiguously represent Sweden in the world.”
- You have to be a retired letter carrier to live in Nalcrest, Florida. Ironically, the town does not have mail delivery service.
- In 2010, Syria had more tourists than Australia.