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DeWese--An Interview at Poor Richard's Place

February 1999
Attila the editor sent me an e-mail that ordered me to his office at 8 a.m. the following morning. "Ordered" me, the Mañana Man, in his office at 8 a.m.! I was indignant! I considered deleting his electronic mandate, but I decided he must have some big assignment for me.

I knew if he actually wanted to see me, it had to be important. Ordinarily, Attila never calls, writes, faxes or e-mails me. I haven't heard from him in about three years, since we cleared up that little multimillion-dollar, character-assassination lawsuit problem. Nowadays, he has his bloodsucking Associate Attilas call and harass me about my deadline timeliness and my column content (or lack thereof). He's too hotsy-totsy to call himself.

I arrived at the North American Publishing building about 10:15 the following morning. After all, I am the Mañana Man, and I couldn't let the Mighty Editor think I was intimidated by his e-mail. Rosie, the receptionist, greeted me enthusiastically, "Hey Man, they're all waiting for you in the main conference room—and they are surly." Rosie has been greeting visitors at least as long as the 14 years I've been writing this column, and we're old friends.

When I entered the conference room, Attila was turned away from the table staring out the window at the Philadelphia Inquirer building across the street. The associate editors were in various stages of bored malevolence.

Attila wheeled in his big leather chair and said, "Well, you're more than two hours late. This is consistent with the fact that you've been late with every column for more than 14 years. But my disdain for your timeliness and writing skill is for another day."

He continued: "We've got bigger fish to fry today. In fact, we've code-named this project 'BF' for 'Big Fish.' Here's the deal: America's top print salesperson is down on his luck. Womanizing and drinking have gotten the best of him. He's on his last legs, and we've decided you're the one to interview him before he croaks, and we lose all his wisdom."

I mustered, "Why me, boss?"

Big Shot Editor pursed his lips, as if he was actually thinking, and responded, "He spends his days in a crummy tavern in North Philly, and none of the other writers will risk visiting that part of town." He then looked me up and down and added, "Besides, you won't look out of place in that part of town."
 

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