Saturday, July 23, 2011

The First Loser

Do you know what they call Second Place?
     The first loser.
     So it was with great pride that the El Paso Times received its award for second place from the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association for excellence in newspaper printing.  Unfortunately, I couldn't be there for the presentation.  I was busy drinking a diet soda.  Instead, Bob Braswell, production director of Texas-New Mexico Parnership, went.  (He's never been able to get out of jury duty, either.)  The Greenville News took first place.  The man representing the newspaper received the award graciously.
     "In your face!" he yelled at the rest of us, and then handed the presenter an envelope stuffed with something green, if you get my drift.  To be honest, I didn't even know they gave out awards for printing, but it doesn't surprise me.  If we in the newspaper business don't pat each other on the back, then who will?
     I, myself, am a Nobel Peace Prize winner.  I received it back in 2009, and share it with President Barack Obama, the man who once saved my life in 'Nam.  The Secret Service kept me from the award ceremony held in the red light district of Amsterdam.  President Obama didn't want to be outshined., it seemed, but he was gracious enough to acknowledge me in his acceptance speech.  He said:  "I cannot argue with those who find (Jim Duchene)...  to be far more deserving of this award than I."  Unfortunately, he wasn't gracious enough to share any of the prize money, but I understood.  He was broke from his last vacation.
     Basking in the glow of second place encourages me to share with you, my loyal readers, other important awards the El Paso Times has won.  First and foremost, we've received a Pulitzer Prize for acheivements in paper cutting.  If you think cutting rolls of paper into the same size square is easy, you're mistaken.  We've also received an award from the Teamster Union for a contribution we made to their Widows & Orphans Fund.  This award was presented to us by none other than the late Jimmy Hoffa himself.  He assured us, with a wink, that he was going to put the donation directly into his retirement account "where it will be safe."  In 1975 we won our first Academy Award for Best Actor.  No, wait...  that was Jack Nicholson.  The Teacher's Association gave us an award for spelling words correctly "at least most of the time."  We were in a contest with Al Gore back in the year 2000.  He called us to concede, and then immediately called us right back to try to withdraw his concession.  We won anyway when the Supreme Court ruled in our favor.  In your face, Al Gore!  But our most cherished award came from President Obama himself during his most recent visit to El Paso.
     It was for not going out of business.
Fifty Shades of Humor

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