Thursday, May 2, 2013

No. 399 – How Soon Is Now

Performer: The Smiths
Songwriters: Morrissey, Johnny Marr
Original Release: William, It Was Really Nothing single
Year: 1984
Definitive Version: None

I had to be at the farewell party when Holly and Andy left The Dispatch in June 2003. Actually, it was just Andy who left right away after getting a new design gig in Wichita, Kan. Holly would join him at the end of the summer.

Anyway, that was the first time I’d seen anyone from The Dispatch since I’d left for Cleveland at the beginning of March. I got to sit at the booth of honor at the Thurman after properly loading up the juke as in days of old, which meant I included this song. This was one of Holly’s favorites. One night she got it in her head that we all should talk like Morrissey: I ahm thuh suhn and the airth.

The party was a cool reunion, but it was a little awkward, because it also was the first time I’d seen anyone from The Dispatch since news about my dalliance with Shannon had been made public. As I noted a year ago, I thought I’d escaped without anyone knowing only to have Chuck confront me about it at a Blue Jackets game.

It was even more awkward after Shannon showed up. Andy apologized and said he couldn’t very well disinvite her, because the bash was for everyone on the copy and graphics desks. I told him not to worry about it. Seeing her didn’t bother me; I’d seen her for weeks at work before I left, and it wasn’t a big deal … at first.

Before long, however, she proceeded to get very drunk, to the point where she finished the night getting sick in the women’s bathroom. That actually was a good thing, because it made me wonder what the hell I ever saw in her. (The answer of course was as obvious as the curves of her 21-year-old body—I wasn’t thinking with my brain.)

But before then, Shannon went out of her way to come over to me and demand that I explain our dalliance to Holly and Andy. Why should I? They never would have known—no one would’ve known—if she hadn’t blabbed to a friend who proceeded to spread the story. So, it wasn’t my fault. More important, what difference did it make now? Well, she didn’t want Holly and Andy to think any worse of her.

Well, that was too late, but this was a slap in the face. Wait a minute, I’ve heard stories of my own—straight from the horse’s mouth. You hook up with three guys in the newsroom after developing an unsavory reputation at college, and you’re embarrassed that people know … about me? You should have been proud of me. I didn’t rat you out to others. I treated you as a gentleman would, with respect.

But I WAS the embarrassment—the 39-year-old fogie, apparently. I found that out from the “friend” in whom Shannon confided and who blew the lid off the story (and others). The friend (her word, not mine, in my opinion) thought the whole thing was absurd, as she told me at one of my farewell gathers: Will? Really? He’s just so … Will. Real nice, huh?

Shannon kept hounding me until I said I would speak to them. When she finally tottered away, Chuck, who was sitting with me at the bar, looked at me with a wan smile. I laughed and shrugged, because what else could I do? Like I said, when you think with an organ that isn’t your brain, sometimes hilarity ensues.

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