Dear Suzette

Dear Suzette,

I hope you don’t mind, but when I need an authoritative voice, I borrow yours.

It’s weird because I live in Rochester, NY now, and I am by anyone’s perception a Yankee through and through, but when I need a YAWP, I use your voice. And it has a drawl that’s from Smithfield, NC.

I mean I left your employ so many years ago that my resume just tucks it under its butt at this point. But I still use your voice. Because you were so good that your voice to me ascribes assertiveness and competence. Because you were those things. You personified those. And I still have no other way to bark that out to other humans but to impress your inflections.

How you said “how are YOU.” How you said “BYE.” How you hit the low part of your voice when you made your point. How you just said the word “sense.”

You are a short, unexpectedly strong woman. And you did news in a small Southern town with weird attitudes about all that. I remember you as the toughest I’d ever seen. You were cool and smart and way above the muck in which you worked. And your voice is my authority. Probably 15 years later.

That’s how good you are. Suzette Rodriguez, you are the best. Thank you.

Your former reporter.
Aaron B. Pryor


I remember when my editor one day had me to sit down and type up an honor roll for the paper. She also had this funny idea that all the names should be spelled correctly, so she made me proof it, too. What a pain it was. I did it grudgingly and hated doing it. But, I did it, and when I was done, I felt like I’d grown a new muscle.

I had to generate a list at work today, too. This was a copy-paste job. From about 80 separate documents into a single list. I was asked to start doing this about about 40 minutes outside of my end-of-day.

I had it done right at 5. And I’m sure nobody in that room knew that I left feeling oddly satisfied about that. Grunt-work is dreadful. But the grunt-work I did today was vital to solving a larger problem. And it sure made me feel great that I could deliver.