List of Rainy-Day Topics Pegler’s First Concern As He Tackles New Writing Job

Quad City Times/December 11, 1933

New York, Dec. 11.—This is a new line of work with me and I hope and trust that I will presently find over here in the department where they try to make the people think some equivalents of Primo Camera and Babe Ruth who can be written about on rainy days. Perhaps they do not have any rainy days in the department where they try to make the people think. I do not believe I have ever seen a notice in the papers saying “no gold standard today; wet grounds” or “NRA postponed; Rain.” But I am sure they must have days when they find topics and one of the problems which I must attend to very soon is a list of those subjects which they make do for the fine old standard sport-page controversy over the amateurism of the tournament tennis players, the 14 count in Chicago and the question whether John L. Sullivan could fight better than somebody else could swim or tackle or row. And after they have been out all night, sitting in some hotel room in Washington or feeling the public pulse in Kansas City or Chicago to find out whether the people are thinking, and, if so, what, they are likely to feel somewhat world-series themselves, aren’t they?

All In Day’s Work

I suppose there is no department on the paper in which a man does not sometimes find it necessary, in the interests of journalism, to get around to places at night and come in the morning feeling at least slightly world-series. I know publishers have to go to banquets and sit between the general commanding the local corps area and the manager of the big store. The business managers and advertising managers go to lower case banquets and sit between the president of the State Federation of Labor and the chairman of the boxing commission. The book-reviewers go to literary teas, the fight-writers go to Camera’s training camp or Maxie Baer’s, the political experts go to conventions and baseball experts go to the world series. The only feeling worse than the world series feeling that I have experienced is the Poughkeepsie Regatta feeling but then the regatta takes place in June on a hot river in a hot valley and you have been sleeping on a gravel mattress under a tin roof in a room giving onto the kitchen where they cook ham and eggs. You did not get to bed until 4 a. m., anyway, and as the fumes of the ham and eggs started coming up the areaway at half past six, the Poughkeepsie Regatta feeling is about the worst that the human system can be exposed to and live. Although the Houston Democratic Convention feeling was pretty bad.

Pine for Primo

I am not very well acquainted among the gold-standard crowd, the N.R.A. crowd, the Governor-Do-Your-Duty group and the Wither-Are-We-Drifting writers, being so new around here. But I have a feeling, just from the look of them, that there will be days over here in the sacred heritage of liberty department when I will pine for good old Primo and the Ol (Apostrophe) Bambino. They write so easy, Primo and the Ol (Apostrophe) Bambino.

I could always sit down on a day when I was feeling more or less world-series or even a trifle Poughkeepsie and just play the typewriter, recalling what Primo said to me one day in Miami or the time the Babe killed two kidnapers with a ball-bat. I know the Babe never killed any kidnapers with any ball-bat. But over where I came from on’ the sport-page, if you wait a couple of years after he didn’t kill any kidnapers with a ball-bat and then recall the incident, there is your story, and you can go back to bed. It doesn’t make any difference whether he did or didn’t. Who is going to care after two years?

I’m Scared of This Place

Bit I am a stranger around here. I don’t even know Mr. Roosevelt. About the only one I do know is Shamus Farley, the Postmaster General, who used to be the prizefight commissioner. I can’t go on writing on every rainy day about the time he was playing first base for Haverstraw and the third baseman, fielding a bunt, picked up a rock by mistake and nearly tore Shamus’ hand off. I know no third baseman ever picked up any rock and nearly tore Shamus’ hand off when he was playing first base for Haverstraw. But this was years ago.

I am scared of this place. I wish I were back where I came from already.


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