Tuesday Aug 12 2008
Reporter’s short tenure filled with bittersweet memories
By: Jim Ratajczak, The Telegraph
Ladies and gentlemen, I’m done. By the time you read this column, my tenure at the Telegraph will have come to a close. Not that me leaving the Telegraph matters much to anyone beyond myself, my family and the editorial staff, but I figured the least I could do was help fill space in the paper and pound this out. To me, this is the ultimate vanity project. I’m not sure what I could write here that would make my final thoughts more important than anything our normal columnists would have to say. But then again, I can’t imagine anyone reads these hoping to learn the true meaning of life, ways to look eight years younger or tips on getting tighter abs in time for summer. Besides, if I knew any of those secrets I’d charge more than 50 cents to read them. Instead, I want to take a quick stroll down memory lane. It’s been an interesting experience here, to say the least. I wish I could say working for the Telegraph opened my eyes and gave me an education unlike any other, but my 10 months here simply reinforced what I already thought, for better or worse. So indulge me while I take a page out of Crash Davis’ “I believe” playbook: Life goes on no matter who’s wrong or right. Sometimes, all you can do is laugh. Some people are only happy when they’re miserable. Don’t bother complaining – nobody listens anyway. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know that counts. Some people are genuinely passionate about what they do, while others just care about the paycheck. Some people just don’t get it. I could easily max my word count reciting these trite little truisms, but I’ll end this portion of the column with the biggest cliché of them all, the most important thing I’ve been reminded of since I started writing here last October – everybody has a story to tell. And even though they too often think it’s the most interesting, fascinating tale since Homer penned his epic poems, it’s a story nonetheless. But that could just be my cynical side talking. I’m not walking away from my Telegraph tenure totally jaded, though. I’m going to miss the writing. I’m going to miss working with the paper’s editorial staff – this newsroom has some genuinely good people in it. I’m going to miss that adrenaline rush when I’m up against a deadline. And yes, deadlines do exist, even for a weekly paper. A week ago, my editor told me that, no matter what, I was now a part of Folsom’s history. Perhaps he’s right, but whatever legacy I leave will last only as long as the readers remember me. This isn’t a shameless plea to be remembered as a pillar of journalistic excellence, but I can only hope I leave the paper a bit better than it was before I joined. So for what it’s worth, I tried my best, Folsom. I really did. “I worked really hard.” And if that doesn’t get the newsroom laughing, nothing will.