When you spend a career in daily journalism, you are able to collect some mementos.
I thought one of them was gone after I left my last full-time journalism job. Silly me. I got it back just the other day. I feel strangely whole again.
My career in daily journalism came to an abrupt end on Aug. 30, 2012. I resigned — unhappily — from my job and was gone. Company “restructuring” can be a bitch, you know?
What did I leave behind? It was a silly bumper sticker I’ve been packing around since my older son was a sophomore in high school. A teacher of his gave him the bumper sticker and asked him to give it to me. He wanted to stick it in my ear with the bumper-sticker slogan, “I Don’t Believe the Liberal Media.”
I’ve carried it around with great pride ever since.
How did it find its way back to my hands? The librarian at the paper where I worked for nearly 18 years called me on another matter. I e-mailed her back with an answer to her call, then asked if the bumper sticker, which was pasted on the door jamb to my former office, was still there. “Yes,” she said. I asked her if she could return it to me, which she did.
My friends and others who know my political leanings know the bumper sticker is meant to be self-deprecating. They know I’m one of those “liberal media” types. I display it with pride.
This artifact, though, once was a source of tension with some colleagues at the newspaper where I worked — or so I was led to believe.
My office at the Amarillo Globe-News had been in what we called “the old building,” next to the publisher’s office. The fellow who replaced the publisher who hired me decided to make a change: He decided to move me and my staff out of that office to another location. We eventually ended up in the newsroom, across the parking lot in the newer building.
As I moved into my new digs, I put the “I Don’t Believe the Liberal Media” sign on my window, thinking my colleagues would know that I was poking fun at myself.
Not everyone, I guess, understood the irony of the sign. One of them approached me the morning of my first full day in the newsroom and informed me that “some of us” took offense at the sign. My jaw dropped. She didn’t understand the intent of the sign, which was to poke fun at myself, not to make any serious political statement. My colleague then informed me she would take the matter up with our human resources director if I didn’t remove the sign.
I relented. The sign came down and I would resent the individual for the rest of the time she worked at the newspaper.
That’s in the increasingly distant past now.
I see bumper stickers occasionally with that “I Don’t Believe … ” message on the back of vehicles driving around town. When I do, I cannot help but smile. They’re intended to convey a serious message.
I take it as a joke. I’m just glad to have my little keepsake back home.