Back in 1985 Jim McMahon was leading the Chicago Bears to a Superbowl Championship and raising hell with NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle over headbands he was pictured wearing. Meanwhile at The Pueblo Chieftain Managing Editor/General Manager Barclay Jameson had ordered all employees have their mugshots taken and placed on file.
I was a bit of a hell-raiser myself, though not very original. So when it came my turn to face the camera I was wearing a “Barclay” headband and dark glasses. I think it was photographer Dean Miller who was assigned to take the mugshots.
Now, I got along with Barclay just fine, actually very well. I was even his teaching assistant when he was a guest prof at what was then University of Southern Colorado. But Barclay was better known for his “chain-of-command” style of management than for his tolerance for flip behavior and smart-assery, so I didn’t really know how he would take this joke.
A day or so later, as the editors gathered for the daily meeting, Barclay walked sternly toward me. I feared perhaps I had gone too far and braced for the worst. When he got up close, with just a trace of a smile, he said: “I know you, you’re Jim McMahon.”
I wouldn’t say I felt like I had cracked any sort of veneer, but was glad he could see the humor. And I think I had made my point: Of course he didn’t need a mugshot to remember my name.
Well, I’m done. I finished my last evening of editing for The Chieftain on Friday and honestly I’m still trying to sort out how I feel about that. All the other times I’ve left there I’d frankly been unhappy over something and quitting was liberating. This time, having been laid off due to economics, the feeling is somewhat deflating . . . but there’s a hint of liberation as well.
Over the years at the paper I’ve made a lot of friends and we’ve had a lot of fun. I could write a comedy based on some of my experiences there. This is tempered by the serious nature of some stories that stand out in my mind, and there have been many over the years. What’s next? I’m not sure. It’s time to move on, but there is still a little bit of hell-raiser in me.