There was something very comfortably familiar about the
writer, a total stranger who fate could not have just randomly
put in my path to throw me a curve for no particular reason.
With my full and undivided attention, as I rarely provide for
any cause or reason, I took in and hung on to every single one
of his well chosen, humorous words that told his personal and
professional life stories as though I were interviewing him for
a full length media article or writing his most captivating
Something about the quick witted writer readily drew me in,
drew me to him and him to me. The dazzling chemistry
between us took off instantly with quite an intriguing passion
and intensity. We could talk and laugh for hours and days
without running out of things to say or discuss with one
another. There was no looking back until I was in well over
my head and wished I had never met him, instead only to wish
a minute later that I had known him all my life.
Sometimes writers get so caught up in the mystique of being a
writer that quirky traits become their trademark, and
whatever personality they had before success just disappears
to all but their closest and most trusted friends. Thatâ€™s
what must have happened to the writer, I suspected the first
time that he and I met.
It had been a long time since he talked candidly about himself
instead of everything in the political or sociological world that
he wrote about - or the tens of thousands of newspaper
readers who sometimes daily contacted him to agree or
disagree with what he wrote in his syndicated columns. He
was the kind of writer who people either loved or hated to
read, but read, nonetheless, just to see what was on his clever
mind that particular day.
At times, his commentary or interviews brought him much
personal attention that he claimed to dislike. He pretended to
growl and despise any controversy that threw him into the
public spotlight instead of his subject whom he wrote about
often critically of, but sometimes so favorably of, in his
He sometimes became the story in the news for more than just
a day or two after taking less popular stands on different
economical, moral or political issues or pointing out
hypocrisies in favorite political candidates.
When he was characterized by news makers or fellow media
writers as being aggressive, he was personally insulted,
wounded and said so to those in his inner circle. The typically
quiet, polite, reserved, funny man had absolutely no clue just
how outright tough and ruthless he could be with some
interviewees who tried to evade answering him, hide
unflattering answers or cover up the truth to a gnawing
situation at hand.
In one instance where he was depicted as being especially
ruthless, he shook his head and pointed to the television and a
film clip showing him calmly but repeatedly asking the same
question to a political candidate who definitely skirted the
truth with such vague answers that other media reps might
have accepted. Not this guy.
â€œI donâ€™t understand why they call me aggressive. Thatâ
€™s the most ironic and funniest thing to me,â€� he said of
that particular incident when he didnâ€™t back down with
his question at that presidential convention.
I took it all in and just laughed. He truly did not realize at all
just how tough he became when he went to work, even when
he saw his persistent style and lack of hesitation to continue to
ask the difficult questions captured on video.
No matter what the wannabe and has been politicians said
publically about his views, they knew that the writer was so
perceptively wise and right when he editorialized about what
their sometimes floundering campaigns needed to do to pull
off election victories or redeem themselves for another stay in
Likewise, the ones in office who seemed to forget about broken
promises made to the pubic were uneasy in his presence and
were known to turn and walk quickly in the opposite direction
to avoid crossing his oncoming path. They knew he was so sure
to see through their spin on things and would list all of the
weaknesses in their latest economic growth plans that think
tanks and expensive consultants tagged as being brilliant. The
smarter ones tried to stay on his good side and sometimes
called him before announcing the scheduling of a press
conference, no doubt, to get free and excellent political advice.
He enjoyed that role more than he was willing to admit.
â€œWhy donâ€™t you just get it over with and be a political
consultant or run for political office yourself?â€� I asked him
once when he lamented that none of the political party
favorite sons seemed to understand or live up to their partyâ
€™s expectations. His response was to give me a horrified
look as though I falsely accused him of treason or murder.
â€œYou canâ€™t be serious!â€� he exclaimed. â€œMe...run
â€œSure, why not? You seem to be a natural. Every time you
take on the big boys, your readers write in with overwhelming
support because they know youâ€™re no nonsense and are
trying to save their tax dollars. They know you always have a
better alternative,â€� I reasoned.
â€œAre you kidding? Iâ€™m a writer, not a politician. God, I
would be assassinated in a week!â€� he said with a big smile.
â€œBy your own party, no doubt, too!â€� I had to add to
tease him, especially given that he held a long list of phone
calls he had to return to politicians unhappy with his
published report card on their performances in public office.
â€œMy dear, I fear chances are good that youâ€™ll be
assassinated whether you run for office of not!â€� I said
putting on my coat and kissing him goodbye while he started
returning the calls. Watching each other as I walked away, we
laughed together about his love-hate relationship with politics.
â€œYou get me, donâ€™t you?â€� he asked.
â€œSure, you put them down in print to embarrass them
miserably so that they will become better politicians and
public servants,â€� I answered.
â€œYes! By God, you get me!â€� he exclaimed with his arms
up, so pleased with both of us as he watched me grab my
suitcase and disappear out his door.
And get the writer, I surely did!
It wasnâ€™t long before I got a strong case of him in my heart
and couldnâ€™t wait until our next contact.
When he traveled around the world, I missed him dearly and
counted the days till he returned. When he went to parts of the
world that are no longer safe zones because of terrorists, I
worried till he was through there and back on friendlier soil.