Aug 222021

The life of a small town newspaper publisher is always interesting, and though we didn’t usually deal with a lot of crime and political nonsense, I covered a few murders in my time and definitely uncovered a lot of crime and political nonsense. And along the way, I made some enemies.

I’ve had my nose broken, I’ve had people threaten to whip my butt, to burn my house down, and even to kill me a time or two. As it turns out, small towns can be pretty tense when you step on the wrong toes, and I tended to do that a lot. Those were not everyday occurrences, but when I would hand my secretary that week’s editorial to proofread, the first thing she would always ask was, “And who are we pissing off this week?” But sometimes, it turns out you are your own worst enemy when it comes to physical violence.

One of my papers was a free publication, deriving all of its income from advertising. At the time I started it, I was running it from an office we had built onto our house. A newspaper publisher from a town about 100 miles away told me that they were phasing out some of their old heavy metal street display racks, and asked if I wanted them before he had hauled them to the dump. I said sure and drove over to his place and picked them up with a truck and trailer.

As I recall, there were about 20 of them, and since we were a free publication, I needed to remove the coin boxes, which were spot-welded onto the machines. So I was out in my yard next to the office with a claw hammer, knocking them off. I had found that three or four good solid whacks with the hammer were enough to remove them, and I was pounding away when a car pulled in the driveway and someone got out and asked where he went to place a classified ad. I told him to just go through the office door, and he didn’t need to knock. As I turned back to my task, he said “thank you” and without thinking, I turned to answer him as I brought the hammer back and smacked myself right in the forehead with the claw part of the hammer.

Talk about seeing stars! It literally brought me to my knees, and it took me a couple of seconds to clear my head enough to stand up again. If you know anything about head wounds, you know that even superficial ones bleed profusely. I stumbled into the office, my face covered in blood, and my wife at the time (not Terry) looked at me and shrieked, asking what had happened.

The customer said, “He hit himself in the head with a hammer as I was coming in the door,” then turn back to a young lady named Melissa who worked for us and resumed writing the check for his ad. Melissa said, “You saw him do that and you didn’t say anything? Why not?” He shrugged his shoulders and said, “It wasn’t my hammer and it wasn’t my head.” Then he signed the check, handed it to Melissa, and went on his way. And I think he was one of the guys in town that liked me!

Today is your last chance to enter our Free Drawing for an audiobook of Crazy Days In Big Lake, the third book in my Big Lake mystery series. 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 this evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.

Thought For The Day – They begin the evening news by saying ‘Good Evening’ and then proceed to tell you why it isn’t.

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  2 Responses to “Newspaper Days – Getting Hammered”

  1. As a candidate for political office, I had me own threats. Some came in the form of anonymous notes/letters, some physical threats newspsper misquotes/lies, and some just yelling obscenities at me and my family! We live in a nation where we have the RIGHT to disagree, but…..


  2. OMG, Nick! I’ve hit my thumb with a hammer, but that reaches new heights of injury. I think that “Not my hammer, not my head!” is going to augment the old “monkeys/ circus” in my personal lexicon. I’m surprised you’ve never worked that one into a book, now I think of it.

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