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May 6, 2015

A Day in the Life of a Publisher

Encounter With a Killer?

“I am not influenced by the expectation of promotion or pecuniary reward. I wish to be useful, and every kind of service necessary for the public good, become honorable by being necessary.” —Nathan Hale (1776)

Of the many inquiries we’ve received from Patriots since our inception in 1996, one recurring question that I have not devoted a column to takes this form: “What’s a day at The Patriot Post like?”

Suffice it to say that we in our humble editorial shop are consumed by editing and publishing deadlines; design, software and technology infrastructure demands; and all the additional challenges of operating a small business in the worst economy since Jimmy Carter was in office.

On our Patriot Post website, we have dedicated pages for our Editorial Team and National Advisory Committee, and both my bio and a brief history of The Patriot Post are available. I have started “a day in the life” column a few times over the years, but, inevitably, addressing some liberal mischief takes precedence.

As I noted last week in my column on the 2016 presidential candidate remarks at the NRA Convention, it’s a rare occasion when I’m able to take a few elective travel days for something as pleasant as hanging out with 80,000 2A advocates in a great town like Nashville.

Most often, “time off” means some obligation connected with collateral responsibilities, and this week that means attending national security briefings at the Air War College at Maxwell AFB.

However, in order not to completely drop off the radar this week, my editors suggested I tell you about a day in my life two weeks ago, which took a few amusing turns. I originally wrote this account to entertain my children, who are spread across the country, but I adapted it as a column. So, if you don’t like narratives that involve blood, blame them!

Thursday and Friday are the only days of each week when I can take outside meetings or handle other business. On a Thursday morning two weeks ago, my wife left early for an trip out of town and I set out for an appointment to undergo minor surgery.

That surgery went fine. “Take it easy,” they told me (which I assume meant no heavy lifting), and I was out the door and back to work by 10:30.

After a late-morning business meeting, I stopped by a large box store around noon to purchase a pair of hiking shoes. While in the shoe department, I noticed my shirt was wet from the rain — a fair assumption as it had been raining buckets in Chattanooga, more than four inches since daybreak on top of six inches the previous two days.

However, I discovered the moisture on my shirt was not rain, rather I had sprung a small arterial leak through the four-inch incision below my right rib cage. This was an aggravating discovery, because I knew it was going to upend my afternoon schedule. (Those of you who operate small businesses know exactly what I mean.)

Fortunately, there was an abundant supply of shoe-stuffing tissue on the shelf in front of me, wads of which I grabbed and began compression against my shirt at the point of the leak. (Most of my “friends” would have counseled me to rub some dirt in it and move on, but I thought it best to stop the leak first!)

Before I reached the front of the store, my right hand and all that wadding was drenched in blood, and the right side of my clothing was turning red. The store’s other patrons were clearing a path for my exit, certain I’d been shanked or shot.

(Stick with me here, it gets better!)

I got back in my truck and maintained the compression during a 25-minute drive through torrential rainfall back to the surgeon’s office. No big deal — they reopened my incision, cleaned it up, cauterized the leak (the only time I prefer meat well done), sutured me up again and sent me back out the door.

Now, with the exception of the fact that the right side of my clothing was soaked in blood and my truck seat and console looked like somebody had a very bad day, I was ready to get back on schedule and headed to my office. (When you work in front of a computer, it really doesn’t care how much blood is on your clothing.)

Coming back through town in even heavier rain, my phone’s flash flood alert sounded off (this time because of rainfall, not arterial bleeding). I took the regular exit off I-24 to get to our office, and was confronted by a vehicle coming toward me on a one-way street. Chattanooga has lots of great tourist attractions, and that often means some poor Ohio family in a minivan has taken a wrong turn.

Two hundred feet down that road, however, were two tractor-trailers side-by-side, and they were blocking two of the three westbound lanes. I realized there was substantial flooding across the road in front of them.

Beyond the trucks, there was a hundred-foot stretch of road covered in water, about two feet at the deepest point. And in the middle of that temporary flooding was a lone stranded vehicle with at least one occupant inside.

Realizing that the water was rising and not knowing the age or ability of the driver or any passengers, old instincts from my college days as a police officer kicked in. I drove my Ram 3500 turbo diesel (fondly referred to around our office as the “urban assault vehicle”) past the two semis, and surged through the water until I reached the stranded car. (Ladies and gentlemen, PLEASE do not attempt to drive your compact sedan through two feet of water!)

Pulling to within 18 inches of the driver’s door, I found a young woman alone in the car, frantically talking on her cell phone. Conversing through our open windows, I strongly recommended that she get into my truck and let me take her to the safety of higher ground. She was quick to comply, climbing through her window and onto the step rail of my truck.

But when she opened the passenger door, she just stared at me … JUST STARED. She didn’t get in, even as her car began to bob in the rising water.

It was at that moment that I realized that all she saw though that open door was some guy in a pickup truck, whose clothing, seat and console were covered in blood.

I’m quite sure she surmised her prospects for survival were much better if she stayed in her car rather than getting into some this stranger’s truck. However, I was able to assure her that I wasn’t a mad-dog killer, but merely has suffered some surgical suturing misfortune.

She finally stepped into my truck and closed the door. I drove her to the other side of the flooded area where she was no doubt pleased, for more reasons than one, to exit my vehicle onto dry ground. I’m pretty sure she had TWO good stories to tell to her family that evening. My only regret is that I didn’t have my dash cam positioned to catch her facial expression upon opening my truck door.

Mission accomplished and I did finally get back to my office to wrap up a few deadline details!

I’ll be back next week with a more relevant column.

Pro Deo et Constitutione – Libertas aut Mors
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis

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