Thursday, October 10, 2002

"just do it, don't talk. the story's not a fine wine that gets better with age!"

So sayeth FW, my favorite colleague, on the last day I will work with him (this year). He didn't say it to me, no. He's never had a single unpleasant thing to say to me. Sometimes he catches my mistakes, sure. His pleasant, low, German-accented voice always has the same inflection, whether he's pointing out that I misidentified the Turkish Foreign Minister as the Finance Minister, asking me to do a Mideast wrap-up, or is telling a mean joke about Guenter Verheugen (he hates that guy!). He administered my writing test more than a year ago when I applied, and was integral (I believe) in getting my contract extended.

He wears ties with Snoopy or teddy bears on them. He says "Good morning" when he first comes in, no matter what time of day it is. He calls Ari Fleischer the butcher (well, that's what his name means). He doesn't use his power as an editor to make others feel small. If I err in a way that is clearly a freudian typo or an oversight, he fixes it silently. He has an excellent memory for the details of stories that are weeks old, and never challenges the facts in my stories. He reads my copy and puts it out swiftly, leading some to believe that he is careless, but no, he is efficient. And he is not terrified that a mistake will go out on his watch.

I would feel silly if FW read this, but I somehow doubt he is in the habit of doing Google searches on his initials, fleischer, verheugen and qbert. But that's kind of weird, isn't it? That I would sing someone's praises, hoping he doesn't ever see it. Don't I want him to know how appreciated he is?

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