I can now check off “fired” from my bucket list. That’s right, after four years as a features reporter at the New York Daily News, I have been canned. No surprise. It was a long time in the making. Five months, to be exact. But the swiftness and finality of the act still threw me for a loop.
The day after my arch-nemesis–a fashion editor whose idea of a good article is “50 purses under $50”–became my fifth managing editor, she called me into a side office and told me, “This isn’t working out. We’re terminating your employment here effective immediately.”
I wanted to tell her she was an awful manager, a poor editor and a vile individual. But all I said was, “OK,” before my buddy, the janitor, apologetically led me out of the building and left me standing on Sixth Ave. No exit interview. No parting gift. Not even a shot of whiskey.
I couldn’t help but try to do the math. 723 articles, 63 celebrity interviews, 106 Best of New York columns, three editor-in-chiefs, five managing editors and countless sleepless nights added up to nothing more than standing on Avenue of the Americas with a handful of crumpled papers, two half-filled legal pads and a cup of cold coffee.
So I started walking. I guess I was looking for a bar, but before I could find one (it’s tougher than you think to find a good bar in midtown) I walked past Valducci’s Pizza Truck on 51st and 5th Ave. And right there on the side of the truck was a huge, laminated copy of an article I wrote that named Valducci’s as one of the best Sicilian slices in New York.
The math suddenly became much clearer. My articles weren’t about lifting my spirits, but those of the people I wrote about. Sure, my articles were no longer valued by my editor at the newspaper, who didn’t care about pizza pies unless Lindsay Lohan threw them up, but it certainly meant a lot to small business owners like the Vallerio family of Staten Island, who have been slinging pies since 1999. I didn’t let down the newspaper. The newspaper let down the readers. Honestly, would you rather discover the best place in NYC to find a Sicilian slice or read about how Britney Spears forgot to wear underwear and showed the world her Sicilian slice?
Anyway, I think the lesson here is that sometimes you go looking for a drink but instead find some perspective. I’ll be okay. The newspaper, well, that’s a different story. In the meantime, if you hear of a gig for a decent writer, shoot me a line.
Here are my last articles for “New York’s Hometown Newspaper.” As always, thanks for reading.
How to turn your pet into an Internet star
When good people get bad tattoos
NewYork transformed: Whatever happened to NYC’s sex clubs
NYC’s dirtiest bar bathrooms
Hadouken, the Internet’s latest meme
NYC’s first GIF exhibit at BAM
Next year in Watertown.