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Happy Father’s Day

June 19, 2010

My dad and I are a lot alike. We share a love of the Rolling Stones and good rock and blues music. We love to read good mystery novels. We both yell coaching advice at the TV when we watch sports. (We went to a movie about basketball once, and caught ourselves yelling for a pick and roll.) We cook alike, with a preference for simple, straightforward recipes.

We both tend to do what I call “speak in headlines,” and make Big Declarations and Pronouncements that are kind of out of place in ordinary life. He used to greet, and spook, my cat, with a declaration of “Watson, you incredible hound!” We share an appreciation for the whimsical.

We’re both wordy people. Bring on the good stories and puns.

And, in the past few years, as I build a career in journalism and new media, I’ve been making the joke that I’m turning into my dad.

Honestly- I could only hope. He has a driven, focused work ethic. His devotion to journalism is impressive. Devotion to the stories and the craft of writing. Devotion to managing a newsroom, surrounding himself with really good writers and editors, and inspiring them to be better.

He made sure the newsroom had a sense of fun. Inside jokes with the editorial staff, fun projects like the Star-Ledger Munchmobile. When nobody was sure whether Y2K heralded the apocalypse, he spent New Year’s Eve at the newsroom, changed into his tux at midnight.

He’s enjoying his retirement. He’s still voraciously curious, reading all kinds of things and traveling. He taught a class about journalism and business at Princeton, and really enjoyed reading student writing. I bet he’ll write a book soon.

I’m not sure where my career as a writer is going next, especially in this scary and uncertain economy. I hope I can learn to take my dad’s advice to write faster, and “stop fussing” or obsessing. I hope I can develop my dad’s eye for a good story, and then write a good lede. I’m pushing myself to be more focused and more driven, the way he’s always been. I love working with other good writers and editors. I’d love to be a part of a place as full of eccentrics and interesting stories as a newsroom.

So– maybe someday, if I work hard at it… I will turn into my Dad. If I’m lucky.

Happy Father’s Day, to dads, uncles, grandpas, and the other guys out there who are inspiring people to have fun and be better at what they do.

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