Wednesday, February 10, 2016

65 rings

IN THE MID-1980S, I was working one night as the sports slot guy at the Wilmington (N.C.) Star-News. I was in charge of the sports section, and was the first man in the office that day and the last man out.

It was after midnight, and I was finishing the final edition. I was alone.

The phone started ringing. After about four rings, I started counting. It rang and rang and rang and rang. I was still working, but, in the back of my mind, I was counting rings. On the 65th ring, I picked up the phone.

Some guy asked a question — probably wanted me to look something up — and I told him I didn't have time; I was on deadline. He asked why I'd answered the phone in the first place!

"Because it rang 65 times," I said calmly. "I had to put a stop to it."

That incessant ringing was distracting me, but I didn't tell him that.

Naturally, he slammed the phone on me. I don't know if I ever heard from him again.

It's been about 30 years, and I still remember that as though it was yesterday. I wonder if I could have handled it better.



CONTACT: Email me at tgilli52@gmail.com or nc3022@yahoo.com. Also, my Twitter handle is EDITORatWORK.

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