I almost didn’t go when I found out that it was in the same building as the Parkersburg News & Sentinel.
I swore some time ago that, even though I want to be paid to write, I would never work for the Sentinel.
See, the Sentinel is, in newspaper parlance, a rag.
A rag that has personally offended me on more than one occasion.
And I don’t mean I’ve taken issue with their poorly thought out articles or the fact that they won’t carry ‘Outland’, I mean personally offended.
The first offense was some time ago.
My Dad had stopped on the way to work and bought a newspaper from the machine at the store behind what is now my house.
Well the guy that fills the machines claimed that he THOUGHT Dad took more than one newspaper. So he gets in his car and follows my Dad to work. He doesn’t catch up to Dad, but he does get the license number of the truck.
While this is going on some other newspaper employee went through the machine and found six newspapers missing.
Six goddamn newspapers.
Three fucking dollars worth of goddamn newspapers.
Never mind the fact that Dad wasn’t the first person to use the machine that morning, or the fact that Mr. fucking newspaper detective didn’t actually see Dad take more than one newspaper.
We never talked about it, but I’m pretty sure he didn’t do it. Even if he did take more than one (And who hasn’t?) I doubt he would have taken six of them.
Anyways, they take him to court.
For three fucking dollars worth of newspapers.
Now they have no evidence, and the amount of the newspapers wouldn’t be enough for small claims court, it somehow goes to court anyway.
Even though we have a witness who worked at the store who testified that the deliverymen rarely, if ever, put the right number of papers in the box in the first fucking place, Dad is found guilty and has to pay $2,000.
$2,000 for three fucking dollars worth of fucking newspapers.
Because it's hard to get re-elected as a judge by pissing off the local media.
This alone is reason enough for me to hate the management of that particular newspaper, but that’s just the start.
Some time after that, December 8th 1997 to be exact, they cover a really bad car accident. A fatal accident. My Dad’s accident.
I know it’s not unusual to run a picture of an accident in the newspaper. It is, however, unusual to run pictures two days in a row.
Especially when the second picture is that of the body bag being loaded into the ambulance.
Let me know if I’m being over-sensitive here, but it seems just a tad vindictive.
But I let it go. You know, in the interest of not seeming totally insane. Something that I’m probably failing at now.
Because I seem so freaking normal most of the goddamn time.
But I thought that I should probably not work for them.
At least till I stopped fantasizing about setting the building on fire.
Well that was some time ago, and today, despite the fact that I still fantasize about setting the building on fire, I went inside with resume’ in hand.
A guy comes out to get my resume’ and I ask him just how much of an association Graffiti and the Sentinel share. Well he takes me back to meet the Graffiti guy and I basically get an interview.
Good news is, he likes my work and wants to see more. Also good is the fact that I’m pretty sure I’ll get hired. And best of all, while both papers are owned by the same entity they share none of the same management.
I guess I’ll just have to compromise slightly.
Bad news is that the paying position, the one with the benefits, is the job in ad sales. That job is in Charleston, and it’s already been filled. The writing job is mainly for people that are just looking to be published and it probably won’t provide any real cash and certainly no benefits.
I do have to admit though, it’s nice to go into an interview and actually be qualified, highly qualified even, for the position you’re applying for.
At best I’m usually mildly incompetent.
So I’m going to continue to pursue the job anyway, because who knows? I could end up with something after all.
I’m glad he didn’t dig too deep into why I wanted to know if Graffiti was associated with the sentinel or not. It would likely not bode well to call the Sentinel's editor a pigfucker in front of a prospective employer.
Actually, as a rule it’s best not to use the word pigfucker in a job interview in any context. Unless it’s a job fucking pigs I guess, but those jobs, just like the writing job I just applied for, are usually done just for the satisfaction of a job well done.
The best part is that he wants to see my ‘edgy’ stuff. See, I took him a short-short story, and two comic strips, all of which were selected because they were some of my least offensive pieces.
He wants MORE offensive.
Seriously, he WANT’S me to crank it up.
God, that’s like letting a pasty, surgical addicted, creepy pedophile build an amusement park in his backyard…
Sorry, that was a cheap shot, and I’m better than that.
Wait, no I’m not...
So now I’m just sitting around trying not to think about the imminent shut-off of most of my utilities, and believe me, it’s not easy.
I’d been staving off panic by telling myself that I could be getting this job. I no longer have that delusion.
Things aren’t really that dire. I have meetings with the department of Health and Human Resources next week about getting on bill discount plans, it’s just that we’re cutting it kinda close and I don’t have the most confidence in the government’s swiftness to act.
I wonder why that could be?
So I’m trying like hell not to overeat or grind my teeth into stumps, but it looks like I’m going to have to do one or the other.
I’m gonna play some HALO 2. Maybe shooting something will help.
If not, I guess I could always burn down the newspaper building…