I’ve never floated into a room wearing a gold caftan.
I’ve never floated anywhere, honestly. Lumbered yes, floated, not so much.
But I have been in a cigarette smoke-filled room, with shouting going on and clanging in the back shop. With papers strewn about the floors, raving editors eating unpeeled carrots and sports editors with fresh cigar ash on the shoulders of their polyester leisure suits.
I have taken newspapers straight off the press, and then read them in bed, minutes after they were printed.
I have seen that large green button pressed and the unmistakable “whoosh” as the three-story press came to life.
I have seen it, and it has been the pleasure of my life.
There is no explanation for waiting nearly two years to watch a movie after its release, except that we most always eschew theaters for recliners, darkness for light, home for away.
So it was that we just watched “The Post,” starring Meryl Streep as Katharine Graham and Tom Hanks as Ben Bradlee.
It is a great movie. So great that I can’t stop thinking about it.
I think you would like it even if you didn’t have ink in your veins, as both the friend and I do.
The scene is the Washington Post newsroom, 1971. In the spring of 1971, I was finishing my only year at Laramie Junior High School. In the fall of 1971, I began my sophomore year at Laramie Senior High School.
Already, I knew without question what my career would be, I just didn’t know where.
In those days, I routinely made the four-block walk from the home we considered a mansion at the corner of 8th and Ivinson down to the Boomerang office at 4th and Garfield.
There, I’d shoot the breeze with sports editor Bob Hammond and dig through the cardboard box on the edge of his desk. It was filled with black-and-white prints, covered in turquoise felt pen crop marks that didn’t show up in print. I was able to take whatever I wanted.
My all-time favorite photograph of Fritz the Dad is one of those. He looks intense, is talking with his hands and is young — very, very young.
I knew I wanted to write about sports because it’s all I knew and all I loved.
I wrote for the Scout, the junior high newspaper. And for the Plainsmen Herald, where we ate Spudnuts fresh from the fryer when we were supposed to be selling ads and generally goofed around.
Carl Sandburg wrote a poem entitled “Dailies,” that is taped to my computer monitor. In part, it reads, “I am on the streets all the time, day and night/I am out in the rain and sun where men work/I am the daily newspaper.”
The daily newspaper is changing now, and is offering more ways for you to read it. While some are aghast at the thought of reading the news on a small phone or “tablet,” it doesn’t depend on road closures or truck maintenance or the vastness of Wyoming to be delivered.
I’d humbly say that it is worth reading, no matter the manner of delivery.
Although I do admit that watching the typesetters setting the story in hot lead slugs in “The Post,” put a big ol’ lump in my old, wrinkly throat.
Watch “The Post,” and then renew your subscription to the Star-Tribune. Local news, written by eager young journalists in Casper, matters.
Wednesday marks 41 years since the first day, and it has been the honor of my life.