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Posts tagged: co-workers

Does every workplace have one?

You know, someone with a reputation for being cheap.

Deserved or not, it isn't how any sane person would want to be viewed by colleagues. And the thing is, it's pretty easy to avoid.

Just buy a round now and then.

And when it's time to chip in for lunch, don't be a George Costanza about auditing the bill.

I worked with a guy a hundred years ago who was known as the office tightwad. People used to openly mock his slowness about reaching for his wallet. But he did not amend his behavior. At least not while I knew him.

One time I was having lunch with this guy and a couple of other reporters at Tucson's worst restaurant. It came time to ante up for the tip.

Mr. Cheap twisted his torso around, facing away from us, as if he was trying to see his back pocket and unfasten a stubborn button.

I suspect he hoped the rest of us would get up from the table and head for the door.

But we waited. And waited. And when he finally turned around with zero cash in hand, we all were staring at him.

I cannot remember if he was embarrassed. But he should have been. 

A thank-you left unspoken

Those who spend years writing for newspapers inevitably have stories about things they wish they had said during interviews with famous people.

Nothing surprising about that.

But sometimes reporters also harbor regrets about interviews in which they were not even participants. At least that happened to me.

I have had a lot of deskmates over the years. I like to think I got along with most. But one of my favorites was a former SR staffer named Heather Lalley.

She made me laugh and I trusted her about overhearing personal phone conversations.

Well, one day about a dozen years ago, Heather did a telephone interview with Brian Wilson. I'm pretty sure the founder of the Beach Boys was not a big deal to her — she's quite a bit younger than I am. But, of course, she was polite and professional during the call.

This was at a time when Wilson had sort of recovered from being more or less nuts for a long time. Nevertheless, I think he was subdued and not exactly a quote factory.

Still, sitting at the next desk, all I could think was “Heather is talking to Brian Wilson. The guy who wrote 'God Only Knows' and 'Good Vibrations' is on that phone she's holding.”

So Heather wrapped up the Q and A. And that was that. She was not inclined to badmouth people. But I think she was aware that I held him in some regard. So if she thought he was a dud, she didn't say it.

All these years later, I still wish I had asked her to hand me the phone before hanging up.

I would have liked to have said a couple of words to Brian Wilson.

Wouldn't it be nice if there were do-overs in real life?

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About this blog

Features writer Paul Turner is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review in the Features department. He writes "The Slice" column, which appears six times a week and produces general features stories for the Today section.

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