Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Would I stoop to being tricky?


Today I was unjustly accused of using a ploy to get out of doing something I considered unworthy of my talents. The accuser, of course, was Jackie.
This did get me to thinking of a clever ploy that made my life as a newspaper reporter much easier. It involved being told to do a story on some subject I found extremely boring. Invariably this meant something to do with facts and figures in one of the offices at the courthouse.
What I would do is go to the office in question - treasurer, auditor, assessor or whatever - and head straight for the best-looking female employee. This was important because the better they looked, the more accustomed they were to being approached by men.
I would ask her to get me the needed books, then fumble around for a minute or two, shaking my head and looking confused. Without fail she would take my list and say, "Here, let me do it." More often than not I would be told to come back in an hour so that meant going to the nearest place where the coffee was good, or better yet, free. When I returned, everything would be ready for me so heading back to the newsroom and writing the story was a snap.
Only once did this tactic come under suspicion. The next day after the story was in print a woman who had been helpful scowled at me and said, "You're not as dumb as you look."
However, this is shaky ground for me. I met Jackie at an office where she worked in a courthouse. After catching onto my routine I'm not sure she took it as a compliment when I first approached her. My "best-looking woman" explanation has never seemed convincing, at least in her opinion, because only two of them worked in the election office.
That meant pulling out all the stops. "You know I was sincere about you being the easiest on the eyes because you were the Republican representative and Democrats are usually more helpful."
I think that did the trick.

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