My only real claim to fame in all of my years there was the time when one of those editors was “top-editing” a story I had already dealt with through multiple iterations. He was always affecting in his editorial queries the kind of tough-guy, green-eye-shade, staccato newsman’s prose he thought made him sound like he knew what he was doing — all the more comical as it was the complete antithesis of his actual character — and he would pepper the stories he edited with comments of the ilk “WHO HE?” “WHAT MEAN?” and so on.

On this occasion he had typed in a “WHAT MEAN?” following one perfectly plain and patently clear sentence in the piece, and when I got the story back —  having by now absolutely had it with the whole business — I typed in, in reply:

  WHAT FUCK THINK MEAN?

My one contribution to the rich, and now vanished, newsroom lore of U.S. News. 

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