For as long as I can remember the media has been accused of being dishonest, corrupt, and no more than a purveyor of lies. Especially when they report a story that offends a reader’s political or religious leanings. But the reality is that most small town newspapers have always strived to serve their communities by reporting local news fairly and truthfully. But I will admit that at least once, I fudged a bit. But only as an act of kindness. Let me tell you about it.
In this story, the names have been changed to protect the guilty, even though I am sure most of them are long gone by now. And Miss Terry says I have to be careful to clean it up a bit, so I don’t offend any sensitive readers. Okay, I’ll do my best. But please remember that my best is none too good, so don’t try to bring out the worst in me.
When I ran my weekly newspaper in the White Mountains of Arizona, I would go to the different police departments every week and get the reports on their latest activity. One day when I went to the Show Low Police Department, among the reports of DUI arrests and traffic accidents, and people busted for shoplifting and such, the watch commander, who was a friend of mine, said, “Okay Nick, this one is going to challenge your journalistic abilities.”
We had a mobile home retirement community in town where a lot of people from the Phoenix area came to spend their summers to escape the desert heat. One of the residents of this community was a gentleman in his 80s, who I will simply call George. George had been engaged to a woman in her late 70s who also had mobile homes down in Phoenix and in Show Low, and the engagement had lasted for several years.
However, George, being a typical man with a typical man’s ego, kept putting the wedding off because age had caught up with him and he was impotent. That all changed when a certain little blue pill hit the market. George bought himself some and he was raring to go. And raring to get married, too, as a matter of fact.
Thrilled that the long delayed nuptials were finally going to happen, George’s betrothed, who we will call Jane, went down to Phoenix with a friend of hers to select her bridal trousseau.
While she was gone, George got to wondering if those little blue pills actually worked, so he called his neighbor, Sally, a 65 year old retired nurse who was the local hottie. Bear with me, folks, I’m trying to get this cleaned up as I tell it! He told Sally he had taken a pill and wondered if it worked. And being a good neighbor, Sally came over to give him a helping hand, if you will.
According to Sally’s statement in the police report, they began making out on the couch. When George became aroused, they retired to the bedroom, where they proceeded to do what people do in the bedroom. I burst out laughing when the watch commander read the part where Sally said, “He mounted me, gave a mighty thrust, and expired.” That’s right, George died in the act. Hey, there are worse ways to go! I like to think that when he got to the pearly gates, Saint Peter gave him a high five and said, “Good for you, George!”
The watch commander asked if I could please figure out some way to report the story without being indelicate. Me, indelicate? Are you kidding? Delicate is my middle name.
In the newspaper article about his death, I wrote that George had been experiencing some discomfort and called a neighbor over to assist him and that soon after she got there, he passed away. Well, it was kind of true.
Back in my office, I had to share the story with Melissa, who was the office manager and also one of my best friends. Melissa had come to work for me when she was a college intern and never left.
After the newspaper came out, Jane came to our office to purchase several copies of that edition to send to George’s family and to have as a remembrance. She was a delightful little old lady and obviously suffering from her loss. She told Melissa, “I wanted to marry that man for over ten years, but he wouldn’t do it because he didn’t feel he was a whole man. Like that mattered at our age. Then those pills came out, and he thought it was okay to finally get married. I guess we’ll never know if they worked or not.”
Melissa told me afterward that she had to pee at the time, and she was standing behind the counter with her legs crossed, trying not to laugh or wet herself while she attempted to comfort the grieving woman. When Jane left, Melissa made a mad dash through the newsroom to the ladies restroom, and when she came out she poked her head in my office door and said, “You don’t pay me enough for this crap!”
Be sure to enter out latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Big Lake, the first book in my Big Lake mystery series, which made the New York Times bestseller list and has 779 reviews on Amazon. To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.
Thought For The Day – I was popular once, but then my therapist took all of my imaginary friends away.