Like sweeping up after the Beatles

2012-10-06T23:45:00Z Like sweeping up after the BeatlesBy Steve Lundeberg, Democrat-Herald Corvallis Gazette Times
October 06, 2012 11:45 pm  • 

A sunny Saturday  morning found me at the Race for the Cause 5K in Albany, and either I’ve gotten really slow over the past few months or the course was, like, a half-mile too long, because my time was a ponderous 23 minutes, 40 seconds.

I don’t know how far back in the pack I placed, but the race was won by one of my former colleagues, Dan Roddy, who finished in 19:58. Not sure what time he usually runs for a typical 5K, but I know he’s always a lot faster than I am.

Unlike me, Dan is an actual runner. He even has actual running clothes, including actual running gloves, made by Saucony.

Myself, I was also wearing gloves on the crisp morning: The deerskin work gloves I use for motorcycling.

They went nicely, I thought, with my basketball shorts and the homemade beanie my mom constructed for me like 35 years ago from one pant leg of a tattered pair of gray cotton sweats.

Anyway, after the race I dropped by the office to get this blog out of the way before this afternoon’s Beaver game and was greeted by one voicemail and one email in response to what I had written for today’s editorial page.

That piece basically said: “Look, we on the editorial board know we’re not as good as Hasso, so if you’re accusing us of that, guilty as charged. And no reader misses him more than we on the news staff do. In his absence, we’re trying to do the best we can, and if you have input for us, feel free to give me a call at 812-6110 or email me at”

No joke, being the first editorial page editor after Hasso is like being the first UCLA coach after John Wooden.

It’s also like being the guy sweeping up the stage after the Beatles have just gotten done playing, and having the audience yell at you, “You suck. You’re not Ringo. You’re not McCartney. You’re just a loser with a broom.”

OK, so the voicemail was from a surprisingly pleasant 60-something woman who asked if Hasso could at least write something for the editorial page like once a month.

Laughing to myself, I found myself thinking that were it in my power, he’d still be writing something for the editorial page every day. So as for her suggestion, it’s out of my hands. I don’t sign the checks here.

Meanwhile, the email was from a woman, probably roughly my age, whose name I recognized but whom I’ve never met or even spoken to.

She’d been hoping the paper could become more left-leaning following Hasso’s departure and was disappointed that we’ve been trying to stay the “biased” center-right course.

In response, I wrote:

“Myself, I didn't agree with all of HH's editorial positions either, though whether I agreed or not, I almost always found them to be reasonable and well thought out, just not the same position I would take. I operate under the premise that reasonable people can disagree.

“I don’t think HH really thought in terms of right and left. Common sense and personal liberty were his main thrusts, though obviously he tilted right more often than left. I wouldn't call it ‘bias,’which is a negative word. I can assure you that HH always strived for fairness; I am certain of that. He just called things as he saw them, which is what an editorial writer is supposed to do.

“Any time you want to talk to me about a specific issue you think we should address on the editorial page, and the position you think we should take, I’d love to hear from you. Give me a call, 812-6110, or write anytime.”

And that goes for all of you,  as well.

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