Good enough for long enough
People think of newspaper reporters as forever unraveling the twisted threads of political corruption or, depending on your political orientation, they think of us as concealing political corruption in return for pats on the head from America-hating Muslim-coddling socialists.
As a reporter on a midsized daily newspaper that prints arrests and obituaries, I can tell you that I spend a lot of time at charitable events. I'm at the Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless, and I'm there when your organization gives $1,000 to a hospital. I'm interviewing the sick kid who gets to ride in a police car because he wished it from a cancer ward.
Tuesday, I was in a local park while some kids from the high school tied 50 scarves around trees and fences, so the homeless could take a scarf if they needed one. The kids made the scarves out of striped fleece, and there was a note on each one saying it was for any poor person who wanted a warm neck.
It was a good story, and it ran one Page 1 with the headline "Warm Wishes."
"Some junkie will probably take all 50 of the scarves and sell 'em on the street for a half-a-buck each," I told one of the other reporters when I finished writing the story. "You can buy five bags of heroin for $25."
As a reporter, I've covered a lot of things that weren't nice and, 25 years into my career, I'm not a very nice person anymore.
Wednesday night, I went to visit my mother in the nursing home.
She's in a room with three other women who are, as the nurse practitioner says, "nonverbal."
The one in the bed next to my mother is a midsized, brown-eyed woman with short gray hair who used to work in a curtain factory. There's a piece of cardboard in a frame on the door that tells you the name of each one of the women and what she did for a living.
I've heard her the woman in the bed next to my mother make sounds, but I've never heard her speak.