Fort Worth Weekly is working with a handful of interns this winter, which is why you might have spotted some unfamiliar bylines in recent months. Young writers, with their wide-eyed enthusiasm, spice up a newsroom, and in return they get to hold the steady hand of an experienced writer while working on assignments. After a while, the fledgling reporters are turned loose on their own. One of our young writers was writing a story about a burn victim and arranged to meet one of the victim’s relatives at a local Starbucks for an interview. A veteran writer offered to accompany her to the interview, but she declared she was ready to handle it herself. She set up the interview over the phone with a man she’d never met but had a general idea of what he looked like. At the allotted time, she arrived at the coffee shop and saw a man fitting the description sitting alone at a table outside. He wore grey sweats and had natural hair that had been picked but unevenly.
The intern introduced herself and asked if he was Antonio, the man she was supposed to meet. He said, yes, that’s him. But the interview didn’t go well. The man was vague and curt in his responses. He avoided eye contact and offered little in the way of usable quotes. The intern thanked him and left. She was driving home when she received a call from the real Antonio, who was wondering where she was. Seems our intrepid intern had been bamboozled by a mouth-breathing, choppy-sentence spewing ingrate with nothing better to do than mess with a young writer trying to get a foot in the journalism door.
“I don’t know whether I should laugh, cry, or scream in anger,” the intern said afterward. “It’s scary to think that I sat with a random person for 20 minutes asking personal questions. We were alone for most of that time. He saw me walk back to my car. I even offered to buy that asshole a coffee.”
On the other hand, it’s a lesson not easily forgotten. The intern doesn’t figure to be fooled again anytime soon.
Word of the Day
There might be an opening at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for a headline writer. Surely, the big bosses weren’t thrilled to see this headline appear on page 18A on Dec. 17: “Details of massagre emerge.” The brain activity of readers went something like this: “What’s a ‘massagre’? Do they mean a ‘massager’? But wouldn’t that be a ‘masseuse’? Or maybe they meant ‘messenger’? Or maybe ‘massagre’ is a word I’m unfamiliar with. Should I look it up in the dictionary? Maybe I can figure out what ‘massagre’ means by reading the story.”
After skimming it , readers probably figured out the Star-Telegram was trying to tell them about a massacre. What a difference a letter makes. Especially if, like Static, you never make mistakkes.
Stylin’ Donald Trump
So the Republican front-runner for the U.S. presidential nomination is Donald Trump. And what a class act he is! Just this past Monday at a Trump stump speech in Grand Rapids, Mich., he proved it again in front of a crowd of wild followers estimated to be 7,000 strong. According to a Reuters report, the coif-challenged candidate got on a roll and just kept it coming. Of Hillary Clinton’s slightly longer than normal bathroom break during the third Democratic debate on Saturday night — where she got back to the podium a little later than both Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley — Trump said, “I thought she gave up. Where did she go? Where did Hillary go? They had to start the debate without her. Phase Two. I know where she went. It’s disgusting. I don’t want to talk about it.”
Trump even trumped himself when discussing Clinton’s loss to Barack Obama for the 2008 Dem nomination: “She was going to beat Obama. She was going to beat — she was favored to win — and she got schlonged. She lost. She lost.”
We can cuss with the best of them. But even Static got queasy when Trump used a Yiddish word that translates to “dick” or “penis” to explain that Obama “beat” Hillary. But then that’s Trump all the way. Full on class act and always stylin’.