(editor’s note: While our website (this website!) is a year old, we’ve been publishing InCity Times, the newspaper, for more than 8 years. (It’ll be 8 1/2 this December!) Jack Hoffman, our columnist, wrote this piece for our 8’th anniversary issue.)
By Jack Hoffman
It’s Wednesday and seven days before deadline, and the call I didn’t want to get arrived as anticipated. It’s a call I’ve gotten every two weeks, about 20 times a year, for at least the last five years. It shows up “restricted” so I refuse to answer and just let the answer machine lessen the pain. Sure enough, it’s Rose, our C.E.O. (Chairwoman of Everything Officer) here at InCity Times.
“Jack, how’s your column going?” she asks. I tell her: “Rose, you won’t believe this! I got a hamstring pull from falling through a pallet. I just got home and I’m filthy, blood still pouring down my leg from the fall and I haven’t eaten a thing.”
She asks again: “So how’s the column going, Jack?”
On Tuesday I call her and tell her I have an MRI scheduled and an appointment with an orthopedic doc’.
“So when will I get your column, Jack?” Rose asks me.
It’s Wednesday – the day InCity Times goes to press – and I have an appointment with another doctor about diabetes. In the afternoon I see my neurosurgeon.
Rose calls me. “So when’s the column coming?” she asks.
So how can I meet my deadline? In between doctor appointments I need to talk to my shrink! Rose isn’t sympathetic – well maybe a little when she says: “Gosh, that sounds awful, Jack.” But then it’s the same mantra: “When is your copy coming, Jack? I’ll give you until 9 p.m.”
I’m still not getting the message through to Rose – a gal who not only sells ads for her paper but writes much of its copy and helps deliver it. AND runs our website incitytimesworcester.org … and hosts InCity Times’s current events TV show “Straight Talk” (which she has dragooned me into!). She has the tenacity of a pitbull!
I grab my pen and pad and head to Boston to see how my brain is doing. I may have a brain tumor (I was treated for bladder cancer earlier this year)!
Rose calls again. “Jack, how’s it going?
“My health or the column?”
“You sound OK to me, Jack.”
“Rose, I just learned my doc had an emergency surgery to perform – on a kid – and I could be in for a long wait! Rose, what do you want me to do now?”
“Jack, why haven’t you got your laptop with you?” she says.
In a tone of voice reminiscent of my sergeant (when I was in the service), she just about orders me to grab one of the hospital’s computers and bang out that column! Don’t they have e-mail? E-mail me your column!
Twenty or more patients are all lined up waiting to see Dr. Black whose name perfectly fits the situation at hand. While I try to run the doc’s personal computer – I’m a Mac user – the doctor arrives. I hear in the distance, Hoffman you’re next. I call Rose from the exam room. I tell her I’m in and hoping to get home in the next hour.
The moral of this story: our fearless editor, who has to deal with the likes of me, the printer, the public, the artists and advertisers still survives after all these years (eight). Congrats to you, Rose!