Performer: Smashing Pumpkins
Songwriter: Billy Corgan
Original Release: No Alternative
Definitive Version: None
I suppose I should write about an AIDS-related experience considering the song and the album, which goes to benefit AIDS research, of course, except I didn’t have any direct contact with anyone who had AIDS until long after I met Laurie more than a decade later. In other words, although it certainly touched me; it didn’t directly affect me at the time. So, instead, I’ll write about something that was happening at the time I bought this album.
By 1994, I had been looking to get out of Flint for a couple of years with no success. As I mentioned, I had sent a blind letter to the sports department of The Columbus Dispatch in 1992, but nothing came of it.
But in March 1994, when I saw in Editor & Publisher magazine that The Dispatch was looking for a news copy editor, I decided to do something I don’t normally do—I called in a marker.
It wasn’t a favor as in someone owed me something, but my history was such that I either had to or felt I had to figure things out on my own. That was fine; I’d done well using my own wits, and it gave me a sense of pride to know that my accomplishments were entirely my own. I wasn’t beholden to anyone.
But every now and then, even the most independent of folks can use a helping hand, and because this was the first time I’d seen a direct advertisement for a position at The Dispatch, it was time to call in the big dog. I wrote a letter to my grandfather.
My grandfather was connected to everyone in Columbus through business, or at least had been, and I knew in particular that he served on at least one board of directors with members of the Wolfe family, who owned (and still do, I suppose) The Dispatch. I told him the situation and asked whether he could put in a good word for me with the Wolfe brothers.
My grandfather called me a day or so later and told me to write a letter directly to John F. Wolfe, the newspaper publisher, explaining who I was, telling him of my interest in the job and submitting my materials.
So I did as instructed, making an overnight run to The Journal and then the all-night Kinkos in Clarkston to print out my resume and make copies of my best clips and get them off in the mail the next day.
Within a week, I got a letter from Mr. Wolfe, stating that he had forwarded my letter and materials to the night-time managing editor of the newspaper, who was the person with whom I needed to speak, and I would be hearing from him shortly. When you apply for a job, there’s nothing better than having a direct pipeline to the top of the flow chart.
Sure enough, the managing editor called, maybe even the next day, asking whether I would be available to come to town next week for an interview. YES!!! … uh, I mean, I can be there, sir. No problem.
It was only March, and snow still covered the land, but it was springtime in Michigan as far as I was concerned.