On reading Gavin Menu and Cailin Riley’s pieces on me in The East Hampton Press last week, my ears were burning, my heart was soaring, and my cheek was sticking out when I told my co-workers that it must have been a slow news week.
Slow news week or no, I was fascinated to read about me, and — even more important — to read pieces that were written very well, with grace and with the quality of mercy not strain’d; though I’m sorry, in Cailin’s case, that my ramblings were so vague and tendentious that she probably had to spend an inordinate amount of time in fashioning that silk purse from my sow’s ear.
“All I remember of the interview,” I said to my colleague Rusty Drumm, “was that I went on and on, and kept saying, ‘Oh Jeez, maybe you shouldn’t print that. . . .’ ”
“The shoe was on the other foot,” he said, with a smile.
If it weren’t for my outsized ego (my daughter Emily constantly marvels that the people in our family who have the least reason to preen — she and I, namely — are always doing so), I would be warier still of the press, for, as a journalist who has interviewed many people, and who is generally a blabbermouth, I know that interviews involve a great leap of faith on the part of the interviewee. One can always be misunderstood, one can always say something(s) stupid that will wind up in print, and one can always in going on and on make it supremely difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff — assuming that there is any wheat!
“No wonder you’re the best sportswriter in the state!” I said in a thank-you phone message to Cailin the day the Graves-to-Be-Enshrined interview, which had the facts right, the quotes right, and the tone right, came out. “I’m going to go out and buy 50 copies!”
Just joking. But I tend to do too much of that, I think. So, seriously, thank you very much, Cailin and Gavin, and Ed and Claude and Kathy. . . . L’chaim.