November 2, 2006

What if?

by Chris Feeney

What if I joined the circus? Lets get the jokes out of the way immediately. Yes, I know Im a clown, and yes, I know the bearded woman has to shave more frequently than I do.

I realize that when someone wants to hide from the world, they generally run off and join the foreign legion. While I would like to hide from the public after my latest miscue in last weeks paper, I used the analogy of the circus for another reason.

When you visit the big top, you see all kinds of death-defying acts, with folks risking it all on the high wire or swinging from the trapeze way above the crowd. The truly amazing acts are those done without the benefit of a safety net.

Well unfortunately the way the newspaper works out, this editor often finds himself dangling from the high wire without a net. As a matter of fact, it happens about every Tuesday evening, as I work late to get the newspaper completed.

We are a traditional 9-to-5 office. So when that clock hits the magic mark, that means the employees workday is completed. For whatever reason, the newspaper itself pays little attention to the time. Despite our best efforts to mold the work to better fit traditional labor hours, it simply doesnt fit very well.

Despite our best efforts to install deadlines and to educate readers and customers alike, that the sooner we get information for publication, the better, its just the nature of the beast. Ive contemplated changing our work hours, but Im stubborn and still believe that we should be able to get the newspaper done by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesdays. Its not that Im too cheap to pay overtime. Im too headstrong to ask for help, and I honestly believe that these folks have put in their time and need to be home with their families.

So every Tuesday I run a race to try to be done by 5:00 p.m. If you call or stop in on that day, you may notice Im a little hectic or possibly short in conversation or chitchat. Please dont take it personally. I just know that when the clock hits that magic mark that Im going to be without our excellent proofreader and two other sets of eyes that find my mistakes for me.

This past Tuesday evening, I was working without a net, finishing up a few items, including the ad for the annual Pheasants Forever banquet. If you are one of the three people in Memphis that hasnt already called me about this, I dont want you to feel left out, so Ill pour salt in the wound and inform you of my worst miscue ever.

Fortunately it was more of a goof than a mistake. My little typo had no effect on the valuable information needing advertisement, such as the time and date of the event as well as where the banquet was being held. Okay, I guess you could argue that some folks might not attend because the ad mislead them regarding the quality of the firearms that will be given away at the event. In case you havent got it yet, Ill do everything but spell it out for you, because I dont want to curse in print again. When I was listing that there would be shotguns given away at the banquet, my big clumsy fingers, went one key to the left, and instead of hitting an O, I keyed in an I in shotgun.

This gaff has already earned me extra exposure on the radio and I wouldnt be surprised one of these evenings to turn on the Jay Leno Show and see the Memphis Democrat as the punch line.

The one positive of this boo-boo is the redemption of the value of advertising in the newspaper. It has become painfully obvious that everyone in the Tri-State area has seen this ad. So advertising in the Memphis Democrat does work, but no I cant use nasty language in future ads, so please dont ask.

I apologize if my mistake offended anyone. I hope the newspaper is the last place one expects to see such words. I realize that campaigns are in full swing and folks are getting used to the dirty election ads, but even they dont compare to the inappropriate language that I inadvertently included in the PF ad.

I also beg pardon of the PF group, of which I am an avid supporter. Trust me, they have great guns to give away every year. If anyone thinks that I meant to say they have bad guns, please forgive me.

Its funny, how one finger, straying just centimeters to the left, can cause so much grief. Im really looking forward to attending the November 4th Pheasants Forever banquet. Who knows, maybe Ill win one of those #@$% guns.

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