Having been kicked upstairs
and given the title of associate editor
Bernie felt cut off
on the editorial floor—
like those who retire to the country
when their life’s work is over
and find it intolerably quiet—
he missed the newsroom and its inhabitants
he missed the excitement
“come up and see me some time,” he’d say
he had made himself so disagreeable when he was city editor
they rarely did

in his long career at the paper
there was almost no one he had not offended
and, for the most part, this change of personality
(the new, cordial Bernie) left them confused

If management’s idea was for him to become bored and leave,
the plan worked…
at his retirement party
(he took one of the buy-outs)
I watched him in conversation with his newsroom replacement
a more congenial sort who laughed a lot
and a conniver of the first order
who may well have engineered Bernie’s “promotion”—
when he told Bernie that he, David, was “a people person”
the look on the older man’s face
a look of disbelief
and non-comprehension (his stock-in- trade over the years)
was the picture of him I would keep…
the old Bernie I would miss

Stuart Dodds

 

 

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