Tuesday, August 11, 2020

"An overwhelming and devastating experience"

Syd Jerome
      Monday was bookended with unsettling news. Starting at dawn with word of the shocking looting across downtown Chicago, and ending toward evening with a derecho, a line of powerful storms, sweeping in from the west (I'd never heard the word, "derecho"—it sounded like a Spanish dance, and indeed is Spanish for "straight").
     Businesses already on one knee got hit again: Michelle Durpetti posted a video of herself standing in front of her Gene & Georgetti steak house, vowing to open for business Monday, despite having a window shot out and their office looted. She did. 

     I heard from Syd Jerome, the clothing store I wrote about after the post-George Floyd riot at the end of May. The publicist for Scott Shapiro (son of Syd) Megha Hamal wrote:
     The aftermath of last night’s looting in Chicago has left Syd Jerome reeling. The looting comes at a time when Syd Jerome was already getting adversely impacted by the pandemic and riots in June. Last night’s destruction left us with shattered windows and ransacked shelves, and many high-end clothing pieces and accessories were stolen. This is an overwhelming and devastating experience for us and other local businesses.

     In between, I wrote three columns—that's the good news. The bad news, from your perspective, is that none of them are running here today. The first a freelance piece for one of my satisfied commercial customers. Then two, count 'em, two columns for the paper. Which is not my usual routine—I work Sundays, writing my Monday column, so usually kick back Monday.  My plan was to finish the freelance piece and then try to take it easy.
     But I'm driving to Madison to research a story Tuesday, so called my boss to basically tell him that as far as I'm concerned he could consider me "on assignment" and I wouldn't turn in anything, having to leave early and be gone all day.
     What unravelled my plan was this: I'd gotten some heartfelt, informative, relevant emails from teachers in response to Monday's column. And it wouldn't be difficult to get those together into a column. And the looting, well, somebody ought to write something. So in the process of of bowing out of writing one column, I ended up writing two, which is me in a nutshell. 
     "If you're not in the newspaper, you might as well be dead," I said in my defense, sheepishly.
     As to when they'll run, well, that's above my pay grade. Both could run today, or neither, or one Wednesday and one Friday, or never. One element of my job is the surprise factor.
     Honestly, I'm looking forward to a long drive up to Wisconsin with hot coffee and music to work on one of my custom out-0f-left-field stories. Doing color commentary on the world falling apart in big chunks starts to drain a man.


  1. 'Doing color commentary on the world falling apart in big chunks starts to drain a man.'
    Yes, it must. Thanks for hanging in there on a daily basis.

  2. We're all being drained and heartbroken by those unaffected who are either ignorant or selfish or both.
    My son's power is out and most likely won't return for at least a few days must use his phone as a hot spot for his laptop. When the batteries drain he goes to his car and charges them for another round of work.
    What's happening is not only draining... it's heartbreaking.

  3. I haven't heard the word derecho very often, either, but then I've never heard wind sound like it did for a couple brief periods yesterday afternoon, either.

    Michelle Durpetti was interviewed on Chicago Tonight last night:



Comments are vetted and posted at the discretion of the proprietor.