Perhaps when you perused your Dallas Morning News last Sunday, you read the hagiography on Dave Smith, the (soon-retiring) sports editor of the paper for more than two decades. And, if you're like Buzz, you are one of the 117 people in the Dallas area who cared that he was leaving.
If you are one of those people, then you prolly knew Smith. If you knew Smith, you prolly a) hated him, or b) knew someone who did. Because for Smith's first two decades at the paper and for years before that in Washington, D.C., and Boston, Smith was known professionally as a "son of a bitch," as the article correctly points out. (Which Smith acknowledges. Ain't that precious?)
Perhaps you are even, like Buzz, someone who has a personal anecdote to share about Mr. Smith--who apparently has been forgiven for his years of belittling employees because, well, everyone in America is forgiven come retirement age. With this in mind, Buzz would like to beat the holy living hell out of several co-workers, as this will bring instant satisfaction and may one day make a quaint anecdote in the story we'll assign to an unlucky staffer upon Buzz's retirement. It would read thusly: "He was so rowdy in those days," the still-disfigured ex-employee said, chuckling. "But that's just because he was so committed to getting it right."
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Just kidding. Actually, the anecdote would be more like this:
When Buzz was a young lad, back when we wore lavender double-breasted suits and shook our much thinner butt to Johnny Gill's "Rub You the Right Way," Buzz was a sports copy-editing intern at The Dallas Morning News. As Buzz was a sports geek, it seemed like a great job--bust ass from 4 p.m. until 2 a.m., go home, sleep till noon, back at it the next day. And for $300 a week! Suh-weet. The job seemed so perfect that Buzz asked for a meeting with the dreaded, feared sports editor to beg for a full-time job. Smith granted a five-minute meeting. (Buzz wore the lavender suit, natch--wouldn't you?)
Buzz begged for a job, promising to work long hours for low pay. Mr. Smith smiled and said, "Let me get back to you." A few days later, Smith's right-hand man, Bob Yates (who is a lock to replace Smith), pulled Buzz aside and said, "Uh, yeah, Dave wanted me to tell you we're not going to hire you."
The moral to this story? You can piss on all the top-notch columnists (Randy Galloway, whuz up?!), writers and copy editors you want to, as Dave Smith did during his unquestionably stellar, maybe even legendary career. Because when you retire, they'll let bygones be bygones. But be enough of a man to tell the intern to his face that you're not hiring him. Because that wide-eyed kid may turn out to be a bitter, small-minded, petty little prick--and he may grow up and get his own media column someday.