Let me just start right off the bat by apologizing to Larry Olson.
Lars, you are the only one who chides me for taking long breaks in between blog postings. It’s as if it is 35 years ago, with you cracking the whip as city editor and yelling at deadline, “Give birth, give birth, this is a daily paper.”
I was always good on deadline. The problem is, I don’t have a deadline anymore. I can wander out to the garage to sand a table. If I get bored with that, I can go pull some leaves off the garden. Then I get distracted by a pulley I meant to polish up. Before you know it, I’m hopping in the Subaru to go to an auction.
Oops, missed another opportunity to write.
It was easier during the winter when there were no auctions to attend, no gardens to tend, no projects waiting in the garage. I could imagine deadlines then and do something about meeting them.
The truth is, I am a lover of deadlines. I liked nothing better than rushing back to the La Crosse Tribune after a Metallica concert, knowing I had only 17 minutes to write an 11-inch review. Those were the days!
It wouldn’t be the best writing I’d ever do, but it’s a sure bet it would draw a letter to the editor with someone expressing the fervent wish that I be fired for my stupid opinions.
In the days when we had a noon deadline for the afternoon paper, often I was working on features when deadline approached. Even then, the furious tension of getting those last items to paste-up would hold me in its grip, even though I had no daily copy.
Once, when one of my sources happened to stop in near deadline, I evidently snapped at him. He went back to his office and then called to tell me that I scared him as he’d never seen me act like that.
“It was deadline,” I explained as I apologized to him. “But wasn’t it exciting?”
“No,” he said. “It was just scary.”
It never scared me, but evidently it did give me high blood pressure. Hey, it’s hard to stay calm when the press room is calling upstairs for last pages and reporters are yelling, “Give me two more minutes!”
So Larry, I’m sorry for lagging behind. I’ll try to do better. But the garden calls me, the auctioneer calls me, and even a good book calls me. You’ll just have to call a little more loudly — “Give birth, give birth!”