All I'm interested in is "fairness."
I've been with the Flyer for six years now and I've almost led the team to several national awards. This year, we even made the "elite eight" of alternative papers. I've recruited top talent -- Cashiola, Herrington, Davis, Phillips, Popper -- and I've kept our key veterans -- Branston and Baker -- happy by giving them enough playing time in the paper. It's not easy juggling all those egos and all that talent, believe me.
And I think the advertising staff would tell you I've been a prince -- easy to work with and principled but flexible about special sections and titty-bar ads. And just ask the art department what a fine person I am -- funny, yet focused like a laser on putting out the best-looking paper in the Mid-South. They know I feel their pain at deadline.
I put on the coat and tie and mingle with corporate bigwigs at company functions and never complain. I've been an exemplary employee in every way. Heck, publisher Ken Neill takes me out to dinner at Ronnie Grisanti's every week and tells me how happy he is to have me. But, as everyone knows, money talks; linguini walks.
Lord knows, I don't want to leave Memphis. It's become my home. The people here have been great to me and to my family. I've got a huge house in a fancy neighborhood just a couple minutes from work. My kids go to school here.
But fair is fair. An alternative paper in North Carolina has offered to pay me $2 million a year to take over as their editor. I only make $1.2 million here at the Flyer. I ask you, How the hell am I supposed to support a family on that pittance?
All I'm asking is that the Flyer play fair by matching the offer. (And I want my managing editor compensated fairly as well.) I don't need a jet -- FedEx will fly me wherever I need to go. But I do expect fair play.
The publisher of the North Carolina paper flew in this weekend and made me an offer I'd like to refuse. I mean, I'm a loyal guy, but what can I do? Just say no outright? Say I'm grateful for all Memphis and this company have done for me and my family? Walk away from more money?
C'mon. Play fair. Get the stockholders together and come up with something a little more reasonable. I'll see you at Ronnie's, Ken. We've got some talking to do.
Bruce VanWyngarden, Editor
Oh would some power the giftie gie us, to see ourselves as others see us. — Robert Burns
Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote the line above in response to seeing a louse on a high-born lady's bonnet at church. The point being, of course, that while we might think we're looking pretty good, someone else might be noticing a flaw we've overlooked.
The rain is coming down, slow and persistent from a low gray sky. It soaks the grass, fills the gutters, and falls hard on the flowers left on the Beale Street sidewalk outside of B.B. King's club ...
I'm writing this from the restroom facility at Big Hill Pond State Park in southern McNairy County. On Monday, I commandeered the building, which contains the men's and women's restrooms, some racks of pamphlets, and two vending machines. There's no one here right now, but I plan to stay as long as necessary to protest the fact that the state of Tennessee is run by oppressive know-nothings who wouldn't know small government — or freedom, for that matter — if it bit them on their considerable backsides ...