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Steffie Corcoran, Editor
Photo by LORI DUCKWORTH
Photoshop ’Til You Drop
By Steffie Corcoran
July 23, 2015
Today is our managing editor Nathan Gunter’s birthday. It was my intention to celebrate the many things his colleagues love and admire about him here, but since he is the whip-cracker who insists that we blog once a week, EVEN WHEN WE ARE ON DEADLINE, I am going to withhold that written endeavor for another time. Seriously, the truth is that I don’t want to blog about Nathan when I’m too overwhelmed to do him justice. He deserves better. Meanwhile, here is a funny Photoshopped picture of Nathan by photography editor and known libertine Megan Rossman.
Megan hurls one of these through the binary codes and bits of the interwebs periodically, and when they reach Nathan seconds later, they send him into peals of long, dramatic, merry laughter that ring throughout our work area. Soon, it is his Facebook profile picture, and receives many dozens if not hundreds of likes due to his popularity.
But enough about Nathan. Except HAPPY 35TH BIRTHDAY, NATHAN!
Oh, one other thing about Nathan. He is serious as a heart attack about the Oklahoma Today editors maintaining their blogging schedule, regardless of whether or not we are on deadline. I’ve even blogged when I’m on vacation! That is dedication—and it is also respect for Nathan. Whom we love and try very hard to be accountable to, even when it fills us with barely suppressed rage to do so.
Here’s another picture of him known libertine Megan cooked up:
True confession: When we're on deadline, Nathan offers to let me have a blogging pass, reminding me that I have tons of previously published blogs, largely unseen by human eyes, we could unarchive and re-use. (This lovely gesture to fills the other editors, who do not receive the same offer, with overt rage.) But I like to keep my commitments to Nathan. More on that in a minute.
Almost four years ago, I hired Nathan. In essence, I was hiring my own replacement after being promoted to the lead editor position. How daunting! I knew I didn’t want to hire another me; Oklahoma Today already has one me, which is arguably one too many. During the lengthy process that led to us offer the job to Nathan (soliciting applicants, screening them, interviewing somewhere around 15 people, and then re-interviewing 3 of them), I had determined that I needed to hire for particular qualities as opposed to specific skills, believing that a person’s insides are what are most telling in making a hire that works; damn near all the outside stuff (i.e. skills) can be taught.
Now I’m one of those old-fashioned (very late) Baby Boomers for whom the Oklahoma ideal of Labor Omnia Vincit—Labor Conquers All Things—applies at a cellular level. Work really hard, and you’ll be okay with me. Don’t work really hard, and we’ll probably have problems. Work sometimes and not others, and we’ll have periodic problems.
But even more key than work ethic, and in many ways related, is accountability. A middle-aged, curly-haired she-beast of accountability, I believe that failures and half-hearted efforts to be accountable to our fellows--in the workplace, in the family, in the neighborhood, in the political theater, in literally any and every relationship we are fortunate to have—are among our culture’s most serious and distressing problems, woven insidiously into the fabric of our increasingly ill-mannered lives.
It’s important to remember, of course, that we could all display a Flawed Human Being on Board bumper sticker on our cars, which is why I like to cut us all some slack. So let’s establish a baseline, shall we? Say 99 percent? We will do what we say we’re going to do, be where we say we’re going to be, fulfill our obligations to the people in our lives--or, on rare occasions, notify them that circumstances prevent us from doing so--99 percent of the time. I know it’s a lot, but believe me, folks are depending on us.
Don’t get me wrong: Nathan is a member of the Imperfection club. But I don’t know that I have ever worked with anyone more accountable. I won’t go into all the hows and ways here, but when something on the editorial team—and increasingly, in other areas--at Oklahoma Today needs doing, he is the first to take it on, despite a busy workload. He is a man of his word, and his word means something. I would not trade him, or his accountable Labor Omnia Vincitness, for anything. Incidentally, he’s turned out to be a damn good editor and an exceptional social media manager. Skills, you'll recall, can be taught.
But like I said, I can’t fully get to praising Nathan here, due to deadline-related matters. Another time!
Happy 35th birthday, Nathan! I will leave you with a collaboration between known libertine Megan Rossman and known photography assistant Lori Duckworth.