These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Friday, October 13, 2006

no more, Dick

forgive the blog title.i couldn't resist, dawn. and hopefully when the governor's race is over in november and he loses, i will not have to make any more of those middle school-esque jokes.

as the race for governor heats up. and as the november election nears, tv commercials are rife with political ads for devos and granholm, stabenow and bouchard. it's sickening. any commercial break during a tv show never fails to have a smiling mug of a politician. it's ad nauseum.

however, dick devos has crossed the line, my friend.

he's resorted to calling us at home to inform us how things stand with granholm and what happened after the tv debate. i was quite surprised last week to have received a call from dick, or, should i say, one of dick's hired people.

last week the phone rang, a rarity here at our house. i picked it up, said hello, and listened. this woman started up, saying, "did you hear what jennifer granholm said in last night's debate..." i hung up.

earlier this week, again, the phone rings. i pick up. it's that same annoying woman. it coincided with the tv debate held at the grand studios of chnnel 8. i hung up. then i clicked the phone back on again. she was still babbling away. i clicked off. gave it a few seconds, clicked back on, and she was still going. so i gave her and dick devos a few choice words and hung up.

this afternoon, my momther-in-law called. we chatted,hung up, then the phone rings, minutes later. i thought she'd forgottent o tell me something.

well, guess who was on the line? it was that same annoying woman, singing the praises of dick devos. rather, i think she was putting down granhlm for something or otehr. this time, i didn't wait to hang up and try again. i gave a few choice words from my vast repertoire of words and hung up.

i am taken aback that devos has purchased a phone list from some dork of a company and is calling me. i don't need to hear any more about devos than i already have from tv and articles. i'm sick of dick. he has to stop calling me.

does he feel the hispanic vote is important to him and belives he's not going to get it and must pummel me even more with his name? please, dick, stop it. you're fooling yourself if you think i'd vote for you. it's a waste of our millions.

i don't quite get why a multi-millionaire would want more worry by taking on the role of governor of a state where unemployment is high. oh yeah, power. same reason why g. dub. ran for office. he had the money, he just needed another feather in his cap. oh, men and power. women and power. get a grip on that ego. power isn't all it's cracked up to be because the more ou have, the more you want.

so dick? please, forget we ever crossed paths, forget my name, forget my number.

there's a witty beatles song lyric that should go right here, right? i just can't think of the name and number song. i'm sure someone out there knows it.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


tuesday's shift started off as most do, nothing unusual, working on centerpiece things and making phone calls for other stories. the evening was going as planned.

then it all changed and ot for the better.

very quickly, the scanner went off, signalling a one-car crash in park township. no big deeal yet. wait for priority. then the call for aeromed came on and it meant a priority one patient.

so i put my other stuff aside and made it to the scene. nate drove me and we made it past the oncoming roadblock of a fire truck by seconds. we parked and saw the vehicle involved. it was near a treee in someone's yard near an intersection.

i thought it was odd that the chopper hadn't landed yet. they are pretty quick. the only landing spot, short of setting down on the street, was a nearby blueberry field.

i realized the reason for the lack of a chopper is that there was a fatality. surely it was the person in the red car that stood near the tree smashed up and not the jeep with front-end damage stopped on the edge of the road.

lights were flashing, people were talking, rain drops fell, and the roar of the fire trucks was loud. a kid was crying, probably someone from the jeep. he was being reassured.

i made my way to the yard around the yellow taped-off area, near the red car. this young girl, no more than 12, said she knew who was involved and said she's seen it was a woman dead in the car. i cirnged, thinking that there was no need for a girl of that age to be "hanging around" a ghastly scene like that.

the same girl pointed out matter of factly that the police had pulled back the sheet to examine the woman and failed to put it back properly over the body. there were fingers sticking out of the side of the white sheet.

and yes, i could see, barely, the fingers protruding from the sheet. later, i'd see them close up in a photo taken by our photographer while he enlarged the picture on the computer monitor.

i made my way back and forth on the scene, no one saw the crash or arrived shortly afterward. one man commented by refused to go on the record.

eventually a sheriff's official came over and gave me preliminary info. that gave me enough to leave the scene and go back to the office, hoping they'd have it on the cop line later.

sure enough, they did. the explanation was the jeep was in front and was attempting a left-hand turn at the intersection. the red car attempted to pass it (on the left) and the jeep and car made contact, sending the car, on its side, sliding into the tree, where it wrapped around it, bending it, then falling back on the ground on its tires.

it was a bad crash. had the tree not been there would she have lived? would the ar eventually have stopped and simply flipped over on the front lawn? was the woman in the red car in a hurry to get home or was she off to somewhere? how quickly did the jeep turn? none of these questions can i answer.

i can say that after looking in the phone book, the dead woman lived on the street she died on, but i don't know if it was to the east or west of the crash.

i think of those lifeless fingers exposed from the edgeof the white sheet. they will no longer be able to wrap themselves around other fingers from a loved one, caress a grandchild, point out something funny, write a note of humor or love to someone close to her. they will no longer be able to do anything.

and so the remainder of the shift was spent finishing up other things, writing the story, getting the name of the woman in at the last moment with corrected, up-to-date information and proofing pages.

i've been to a handful of crashes (the most notable a motorcyclist skidding off his bike and striking a tree, his body lying on the street, covered under a whitesheet for hours while the investigaton went on), but it's still draining after they are done, knowing a life is gone and you were there shortly after it happened.

it's draining.

Monday, October 09, 2006

the remark

this weekend as dawn and i were working on some painting at our new house (i've not yet blogged this about us buyinga house and will do so at the appropriate time), and i was scraping away at old paint on the window trim, when my mind wandered off.

you know when you do a task taht is mundane and repetitive, you have time to think about most anything in the world or in your life.

my thoughts turned to a remark a coworker made to me about five years ago at a newsppare in texas. ofr the sake of the blog, i will call this son of a bitch john.

before i continue, i wil say this about john. at my interview he was present, though he was not the managering editor. he was a sports editor. he sat there making comments the entire time and i was polite. when it was over, he said, "one thing you find out there is that i like to get the last word." i nodded and smiled. i should have said, "i guess you are that insecure that you must always have the last word." but i didn't. instead, he smiled stupidly and the interview was over.

the day of the remark, after having had several throughout the time that i had since been working there, he'd made many, we were in the parking lot across the street from the newspaper.

we were nearing his suv and had been chatting about degrees (in college) and i happened to say i had a master's in english. i was not bragging, just mentioned it because he asked.

as i was moving across to get to the passenger side of the suv, he said, with that tupid grin on his face again, "that's funny, you can't even tell." he gave a short giggle.

i let it go, as i let many comments go. i shouldn't have. i should have told the son of a bitch that i wasn't pretencious and and didnt' flaunt my degrees.

i suppose th remark had an impact on me since five years later, i still remember it. though, i tend to remember a loto f things people tell me, especially the bad ones.

i don't flash my degree. why should i? yes, i have a master's in english. so what? there are people that have no degree and are smarter than me. i simply went to school, studied, and got a piece of paper that is supposed to make employers (at least most) go, "ah, he's got a master's." no biggie.

about a year later at that same paper, john left, thinking he was cool because new people came into the paper (editor and publisher). he went to a small bi-weekly. some time after that, he left that job because he was asked to provide proof of his degrees. he could not. he said his records were locked ina locker with the army, sinc he'd been in the army for some time. (i guess he never head of calling up the college for transcripts, eh?). and so he had to leave the job, not providing any record of his college. turns out no one knows if he had a degree or not. and he was busting me for not acting like someone who has a master's? please, john. get a life.

and so i guess i don't act like a have a higher eduation. if someone doesnt' have any degree, how whould he or she know what it's like for someone to act when they do have a master's?

"call me ishmael."