What I remember best about Dr. J was his rare gift of being gentle yet firm at the same time, which I think is emblematic of a man able to suss both sides of an issue — a trait in, say, 1988 that none of us could’ve known would be quite so vital in 2018. I was an unbroken stallion when i worked for the BV: full of ideas and fancy words and a hard-guy stare at the world that Dr. J alone could see through.
“You want to be a tough guy,” he told me once, after I’d proudly filed a column for the student newspaper filled with all the rages of a 21-year-old’s untamed heart. “But you’re trying too hard.”
It was only later, after a hard summer interning at the OTH, where I actually had to learn to think and report and be creative in how to properly tell a story — all the things he’d tried to drill in me — that it ever occurred to me how much he’d invested in me.
“You are a professional now,” he said. “Never forget what that means: you have been trained and tested and humbled. Stay true to that. Stay true to what you know.” And then the kicker, words I still hear every working day of my life: “To whom much is given, Michael, much is expected.”
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