Filling Our Days

21 January 2012

A big Pileated woodpecker paid a bug call to the neighborhood this morning. It was a treat watching him telemark up the huge oak tree in my neighbor’s backyard, cocking his head at each step to listen for the dinner bell. How acute must his hearing be to detect the sound of bugs chomping on the hollowed out heart of an oak tree through several inches of bark?

Ah, he hears, but does he listen?

He has a barb on the end of his long, thin tongue which is ideally suited to stabbing unsuspecting termites. We join them, now, as, impervious to the danger above, they burrow contentedly through the soft, moist wood:

“Hey, Woody! You should try this section, over here! Man, you could cut this wood with a – ”

“Just a minute, I’m busy chewing through this piece. Okay, so…….Adam?”

John King was blindsided, termite-style, by Newt’s pointed beak after his too-clever-by-half attempt to put him on the spot about his infidelities, and has probably played the retorts he wished he’d made a million times in his head since then. King, like all Prime Timers, is not not accustomed to being on the sharp end of the rhetorical stick, and it was clearly a humiliating experience for him. One wonders if they smirk behind his back when he walks into the newsroom these days. King always seemed like a straight up journalist to me. Too bad he had to be the one who fell into Newt’s trap.

The full year calendar on my office wall is already growing dense with trips and appointments, and it’s only January. I thought when I took myself off of the boards of our 21 subsidiaries I would have a lot more time to be The Outside Man and Think Big Thoughts. I do, but not as much as I had hoped.

Off to London tonight.

Rupert Scofield


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