Saturday, January 12, 2013

No. 509 – Undertow

Performer: Tool
Songwriters: Maynard James Keenan, Adam Jones, Paul D’Amour, Danny Carey
Original Release: Undertow
Year: 1993
Definitive Version: None

After my first interview at The Dispatch in April 1994, I was feeling pretty confident about myself, but then … nothing. I didn’t hear anything from anyone even though I was expecting a second interview.

Finally I got in touch with the managing editor, and he gave me the bad news—the perennial “we’ve decided to go in another direction.” Well, that was a big bummer—particularly considering I had called in a marker to get the interview in the first place. If I can’t that gig, well, what’s the point of looking? I was stuck in Flint. But then, as I mentioned, I decided, that that wasn’t so bad.

And right when I accepted my fate, a phone call a couple weeks later changed it. I was sleeping after working the night before when the phone rang. I had the volume down, so I didn’t hear any of the details, but I heard the words “The Dispatch.” Here’s how OK I was with being in Flint; I didn’t immediately jump up to pick up the phone. I’m sleeping; I’ll play the message back when I get up.

Later that afternoon, I listened to my answering machine. The call was from a name I didn’t know—Gerry, who was the editor of the Business section. He said he had been passed my resume from News and had an opening on his copy desk. Was I interested?

I might be. It probably was better hours and better work than News. I called him back and within a day, I was driving to Columbus for the second time in a month for an interview at The Dispatch. At least this time I was better prepared clothes-wise. (I’ll explain later.)

I met with Gerry and the Business department’s lead copy editor, Paul. It went fairly quickly: Because I interviewed once already, Gerry didn’t have to spend time explaining basic Dispatch protocol. We could cut to the chase.

I got the sense that it went well, even though it seemed that Gerry was more interested in trying to get me to point out shortcomings with some of my Journal sports sections. Maybe I was tired, but I felt a bit like Mozart: How can you correct what’s already perfect? The clips I sent were recent and the best ones in my collection, so, of course, there wasn’t anything I’d change.

At the end, he said I’d hear back from him shortly, and when I walked out of the building for the second time that month, I honestly didn’t care if I didn’t. I had to work that next night—the interview was during a natural day off during the week—so I’d spend the night at home and drive back the next day.

I stayed at Dad and Laura’s, of course, but they weren’t there. I can’t remember why, but I remember that Laura’s friend, Debbie, was babysitting the boys.

As you might recall, there had been a bit of a connection between us, first at a Rush concert in 1992, and then at later meetings. I was looking forward to visiting with her, because we seemed to have many things in common, but she had other ideas.

She invited over a friend of hers—a young, fairly attractive friend of hers—to meet me. I didn’t mind that, even though I wanted to talk with Debbie. After awhile, Debbie’s friend left—there didn’t seem to be much in common between us except our age—and I got what I wanted.

Little did I know …

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