Sunday, July 19, 2020
Corneisha Fowler builds reputation for excellence
As a rule, it is smart not to remark upon the personal attributes of one's professional colleagues. We all have our burdens. Let he who is without sin, etc.
And yet. Mark Brown ... and I hope I'm not talking out of school here. I think it's commonly known. Maybe not. But either way, Mark ... well ... he's a nice guy. Which can make life complicated, particularly in this business. Myself, for instance, I'm more conventionally configured: a jerk, a schmuck, insert your own derogatory term here, something of a bastard—I get that one a lot—any kindness a mere veneer, a cheap tin-plating concealing the rot within. I'll be honest. I prefer it that way. It's liberating. Be who you are.
But Mark, alas, the poor fellow. Under that surface niceness, more niceness, all the way down to whatever core of genuine kindness beats within. The man struggles with it. Readers saw this quality on display Sunday, when his column focused on a 23-year-old Corneisha Fowler. Two years ago, Brown wrote a column helping out SisterHouse, a WestSide recovery home for women—see what I mean? Nice. He focused on Fowler, who candidly told her story about recovery from addiction.
The problem is, as he explained it, is prospective employers are not as kind as Mark—few people are—and they kept seeing Brown's story, first thing. Which I am not linking to for reasons obvious. So he wrote an update Sunday about how Fowler has been clean for two years and is a valued employee at Rush University Medical Center. It was so positive that, four graphs into it, I looked up, thinking, "What is this? Why am I reading this positive stuff?" When he deftly revealed his purpose, to put something on that all-important Google search page above the grim story, for future employers and such to see first. The story itself was interesting—I got to the end, which I always do with Mark's columns but seldom with other columnists who, in deference to his spirit of comity, I shall not name, even though it goes against my inclination to hurt in a gratuitous fashion whenever given the opportunity.
Of course one story is only a start, and it puts the story from two years ago one position down. What she really needs is for other stories, such as this, to appear, and for people to link to Brown's story, to make sure it maintains the search engine oomph it needs to stay above Mark's original story, which has had a two year head start, clickwise.
Anyway, as somebody who knows something about having a single vastly negative story welded to one's name, however fairly, I thought it might encourage the illusion of niceness among those unfamiliar with my life and work were I to put something up as well, and encourage people to read Mark's story and post it on their Facebook pages, or tweet it, or whatever. I'm sorry that, in doing it, I had to spill the beans about Mark's inherent kindness and decency—really very Zornian, now that I think of it. But as I said, I'm a genuine asshole, and don't care who I hurt in this job, one of the many differences between us, as Mark would tell you himself were he not, you know, such a good guy.