The Record Newspapers - Hometown News For Orange County, Texas

30 minutes before press


Last updated 5/6/2009 at Noon

Our dryer conked out Tuesday, so the next day I washed a bunch of clothes and trudged down to Laundry World.

The last time I was there in the early ‘80s, it was called Duds ‘n Suds. 

They had the kind of dryers back then you would expect to find in your house, with timers that required you to actually read instructions.

The new ones Wednesday were computerized. You put in your clothes and a quarter and the machine did all the rest. Even told how much time I had left.

Ellen was on the television with Michael Douglas, who happily informed me there would be a sequel to “Wall Street.”

Then she had some 13-year-old British singer who did “The Beautiful Blue Danube.” Apparently the Strauss waltz has words.

She had a good voice, but I hated Ellen, hated being at Laundry World and hated looking at McNeese.

I heard music from a passing car, playing “Baby You’re A Rich Man” by the Beatles.

It was a swipe at their manager, often accused of making bad business deals and not getting the boys what they deserved.

The theory was he sold them out to Coke and Sprite, netting quite a bit for Coke and Sprite but not a whole lot for the band.

Forty years later, Brian Epstein might agree, however with his death in 1967 that’s not the way it worked out.

But the question asks itself. “If you can afford a Rolls Royce, do you really need to be complaining?”

So this was my life now. And it wasn’t all that bad.

Just a series of doing tedious things, very tediously.

Back when I was at KPLC, David Smith had a saying that typified the news biz and life in general.

“If it’s not one damn thing, it’s another.”

I didn’t think much of it at the time, but now I recall it very much.

Tedious things. I’m not sure about clouds and silver linings, but good things can still happen, even with changing tires and getting lawns cut.

We just might need to think of our lives as being 30 minutes before press time.

When I was managing editor at a daily paper, something always happened right about then – 30 minutes before press. The server would go down, the wire dropped out, Quark would freeze or the power would black.

And everybody would freak and come running to me screaming, “What are we going to do? What are we going to do?”

But I would just sit there, like I’d already had a few. In my trance I said, “Don’t worry. Everything will work out.”

And it always did, because the news angels somehow found a way.

And I never questioned it, because somehow it always did.

[Robert Hankins is an editor / staff writer for The Record Newspapers. Readers may e-mail him at]


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