Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Tagged: Eight random facts meme

This time it was Shelby who labeled me with the "8 random things" meme that has been making the rounds of late.

As I understand the ground rules, I'm supposed to come up with eight facts about myself... and not just the standard biographical data that you can find in my Profile.

So settle back, stifle a yawn, and plow ahead:
  1. My first paying job was as a sports reporter. High school football. $5 a story. But it wasn't my high school and I was 15 and couldn't drive and I think I only lasted two weeks.

  2. I did have a column in another local paper during high school, also at $5 a week. It was supposed to consist of gossipy little items about happenings at the high school I actually attended. (The goal of every local newspaper editor is to mention as many names as possible of actual or potential subscribers in each issue.) I tended to write most of the column on one subject, never shy about sharing my opinions regarding that topic, but as a concession to reality, I managed to squeeze in a bunch of names somewhere just about every time.

  3. My father wanted to read every one of these columns before they went to the editor... just in case.

  4. My grandmother saved every one of those columns.

  5. I tried to get a job at a suburban daily during law school. I was willing to sweep floors -- anything -- just to get inside the news room. The very nice HR person wanted to help me but said there was only an opening for a truck driver -- which I couldn't get because I wasn't 25. So I stayed in law school.

  6. Mike Royko called me a yuppie once. At the original Billy Goat's, beneath Michigan Avenue. A friend and I would go there occasionally to gawk at the newspaper people. I don't remember how the conversation got started. I do remember that Royko took it back after I told him I had three kids under four, lived in the City, drove a Plymouth and wouldn't know what a pasta maker was if it bit me on the.... well, anyway, he took back the accusation.

  7. I was one of the editors of our school newspapers in college and law school, but my real value to those enterprises was that I was one of the faster typesetters we had. The typesetting machine was a primitive computer -- it displayed the word that you were typing and maybe a few words before and it printed out a column of type on what amounted to a very long photograph -- a photo-ready column of type. If you made a mistake, you'd skip a line and retype the paragraph. If you thought you made a mistake, you'd skip a line and retype the paragraph. And if you didn't pick up the mistake but caught it when you laid out the page, you'd retype the line and paste it over the top. We got very good with Exacto knives. And light tables.

  8. When our kids were younger, Long Suffering Spouse and I volunteered to edit the little newspaper that our school Parents Club put out six times a year. I enjoyed the experience a lot more than did Long Suffering Spouse.
It's at this point that I'm supposed to tag eight more people... but I'll pass on the opportunity if it's all the same to you.


Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

like to write stuff curmy? ha ha

smiles, bee

Shelby said...

you coulda been a contender.. had you only been 25 to drive that truck ..

I do believe you like the printed word.

And we like to read your print.

(my take on a pasta machine - why go to all that trouble when you buy a perfectly good bag of all shapes and sizes of pasta at the local store for not very much money.. saves time and effort)

Patti said...

wow - a closet newspaperman! Be still my heart. But be glad you chose a more lucrative profession.

I know all about X-acto (sp?) knives and light tables. And Scotch tape. And glue pots.
I'm familiar with what those typesetting machines used to spit out back in the 70s before computers arrived in the newsroom.
Back in the day...
You clearly love the printed word as much as Ralph and I do.

The Beach Bum said...

Curmudgeon -

Back in the days of yore, I too wanted to be a Journalist. I was going to be the next Ring Lardner. I wrote the Sports Column for my High School Newspaper. I did a lot of name dropping and over abundance of sarcasm about our teams. My Mom save them all and now my sister has them. I also did the paste up before we sent it to the print shop.

I also met Royko at the Billy Goat on Lower Michigan Ave. He wasn’t nice to me until he learned that I was a Cubs fan. Mike is by far my favorite Journalist of all time. I still have several of his columns that I clipped for the Time and Tribune. I also have three of his books.

As far as the Billy Goat Tavern goes – the original location was on Madison across the street from the Chicago Stadium. My Dad would take me there after Blackhawk games, waiting for traffic to die down (as he put it), in the 1950’s. The “Billy Goat” was always there roaming freely throughout the Bar. He would beg for good and eat out of your hand – a big thrill for a pre-teen.

The Beach Bum

Ralph said...

A 'yuppie"? You are just as down to earth as Royko was, but with a touch more class! My dad was a newspaperman himself (New Philadelphia, Atlantic City, Minneapolis and New York) before turning to PR, and you have the knack to write news. Some of the best best writers were news people first. Being able to write news is a knack most can't master, but you have!

Linda said...

I would be interested in hearing just WHY it was that Royko called you a yuppie. He must have had his reasons, right??

The Curmudgeon said...

Beach Bum -- I defer to you on the location of the original Billy Goat's of course. (But lower Michigan was what they had in mind in the SNL take-off with John Belushi....) And maybe that was my problem with Royko -- I just wear my White Sox fandom on my sleeve.

This year, the sleeve is wet with tears.

And I have to ask, where did you pitch in college?

Linda -- Beach Bum has suggested one explanation. See above.

Patti, Ralph, Shelby... Thanks. Someday I'll have to tell my City News Bureau story. There's no laughs. Just a kid sticking his foot squarely in his mouth. You'll guess immediately who that kid was.

Patti said...

looking forward to the story, kid

The Beach Bum said...


In High School I pitched for Carter H.Harrison Technical High School, now a feeder school.

In college, for my Dad's Alma Mater, "The University of Illinois" in Urbana, where I had a 12 and 3 record in two years. I blew my rotator cuff out in 1964.

In 1965 I shatter my right knee playing Football for the "Fighting Illini " I played with Butkus as a teammate in 1964.

With all my injuries the US Military deemed me "Fit to serve" in 1966.

The Beach Bum