I live about three hours southeast of D.C., in an area that is home to a number of our nation’s historically significant sites, including Jamestowne and the site where the first African slaves stepped on “American” soil, not to mention the U.S. Army base that took in fleeing slaves during the Civil War (by cleverly declaring them to be “contraband,” but hey, it worked).
We’re also home to Langley Air Force Base and Naval Station Norfolk (largest naval base in the world)...oh, and the CIA’s top-secret training facility at Camp Peary known as “The Farm”....or so legend says. (Even typing that probably bumped me up someone’s watch list!)
The major private industry in town builds nuclear aircraft carriers, and down the road a bit are a bunch of rocket scientists who work at NASA Langley (“descendant” of NACA, the organization featured in “Hidden Figures”). We’re also home to The College of William and Mary, one of the country’s oldest and most respected institutions of higher learning.
So...yeah...there is no shortage of really, really smart people where I live, or of those who are committed to protecting our country and to making it better for all of us. I come in contact with many on a daily basis, both in my neighborhood and at work.
In my “day job,” I work for a news organization that covers our local community with daily and weekly publications in print and online (a/k/a “the newspaper”). I have the privilege of answering the newsroom “tip” line, our publisher’s direct line and the “feedback “ line. Our readers are not shy in sharing their opinions about what’s going on in our community, the nation or the world. (My brain is still bleeding from listening to reader commentary, from both sides, during the presidential debates.)
So earlier this week as the nation prepared to swear in a new president, and our journalists prepared to cover both the local inauguration story and the women’s march in D.C., I was prepared for an earful. And I got it.
The calls started before I got in on Thursday—lighting up my voicemail’s message light. I dropped my purse under my desk, booted up my laptop and got to work. And the news was worse than I had thought.
Our residents were mad as H-E-double-hockey-sticks! Catastrophe had happened. The end of the world was near. American was doomed; the last nail had just been hammered into the coffin of the most traditional of news media--the newspaper.
It seems our production team had inadvertently published the wrong day’s puzzle/comics page.
Yep, it’s true. We printed Friday’s puzzle page on Thursday. So if you were looking for the answers to Wednesday’s crossword puzzle...sorry, Charlie. If you were hoping to read the next panel of your favorite serial comic...too bad. We had screwed up...bigly.
One 80-something-year-old retired general told me, “My wife goes bat-**** crazy when she doesn’t get those crossword answers!”
And that was mild...I took one snarky/PO’d/threatening call after another.
All day I told myself: This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass.
And it did. On Friday we published both the missing Thursday pages and the (now correct) Friday pages, and once our readers figured out where to get their answers, things calmed down.
So what’s the moral of this story?
If something is making you anxious or upset today, maybe, just maybe, it will help to tell yourself: This too shall pass.
As a completely unrelated bonus, hoping to elicit a few smiles, I've added a funny video of my son’s 9-month-old cat Hercules. (Please click on the link to see the video; I am NOT a rocket scientist and don't appear to have the technological smarts to embed it.) :-)