DATE: 6/30/2002 04:36:00 PM
Knitting Club, Part Deux
I have decided that Ted, our illustrious photo editor here, is my own personal hero.
Teddy has shoulder-length gray hair, a gorgeous smoker's voice, tanned and leathery skin, bifocals on a chain, and usually has on a loud Hawaiian shirt. Just now I looked up across the desk and saw him with a Sunkist can stuck to his forehead, looking like the result of some failed nuclear experiment. Doug Warren did a double-take. "How'd you do that, Teddy?" he asked.
"Science and skill, man. Science and skill," Teddy said sagely, unsuctioning the can with a loud thoomp! sound. Then he went out for a cigarette.
That's when I decided to write about him.
In an office where egos frequently supercede decency, Teddy is a unique commodity. He's one of the people you find in any large, intense group with a common interest--the kind good enough at his job to earn respect, but who seems to have an incurable urge to burst everyone's conceited little bubble.
He'll tease Mike--rushing in where angels fear to tread--seeming to dodge Mike's famous radioactive glare on the force of audacity alone. He'll poke fun at Peter, on those few occasions that Peter pokes his head out of his office. He seems to instinctively root out everyone's Achilles heel, and then poke at it until maybe, just maybe, the person acts just that much less like a pompous prick and more like a member of a team.
But while he'll try to take the upper echelons of the hierarchy down a friendly notch, he's consistently trying to build the lower men on the totem pole up. That applies especially to the co-ops. He's an eccentric Uncle Drosselmeyer figure to us, offering pearls of hard-won wisdom over a cigarette outside or a cup of coffee upstairs. Once I was complaining to him about what I perceived as my lack of clips. Teddy took a long drag off his smoke and contemplated for what seemed an interminable time. Finally, he exhaled and said quietly, "You want your life to be a rocket ship." He raised one hand slowly through the air, mimicking the ascent of the space shuttle. "But, really, it's more of an airplane." Again, he mimicked with his hand. Then he stamped out the butt and walked off without another word.
Have you ever had someone say something to you that you carried with you as if it were a tangible object, and took out and looked at and held in your hand at tough moments like a Catholic with rosary beads? Most of what Teddy says to the younger kids like me is like that.
Judy has compared us to a situation comedy. It'd be just a soap opera without Teddy.