Vanaski: It's about the mark we leave
This week, I've been thinking about how people you don't know — or barely know — can affect your life in major ways.
If it weren't for Steve Jobs, I'd never have taken up running or most any other exercise, unless someone else could have come up with some other tool of distraction besides portable music.
If it weren't for George de Mestral, the person who invented Velcro, my children wouldn't wear shoes, because putting shoelaces on a toddler is not right at all.
If it weren't for Richard Mellon Scaife, I wouldn't be in Western Pennsylvania. I don't know where I'd be, but it wouldn't be here. I also might not be at a newspaper doing the thing I've always wanted to do.
Before Scaife's death on July 4, a male co-worker mentioned that he occasionally meets someone who says: “Oh, you work at a newspaper? I always wanted to do that. I went to school for it.”
And then, the co-worker added: “Know what he's doing now? He's working at [insert retail chain here].”
Now that's not a knock against retail places or the people who work there. The point is that everyone is not fortunate enough to work in their chosen careers. Ironically, it's usually the job and the pursuit of it that keep you from appreciating the people who make it possible.
I met Scaife one time, and it was brief. It was at a holiday party he hosted. There was a line of people who wanted to talk to him. I almost didn't get in the line because, truthfully, I felt I didn't deserve our publisher's time.
Now I'm really glad editor Frank Craig encouraged me to do it, because it gave me the chance to say, “Thank you,” to Scaife in person.
I'm not sure how involved he was in hiring me when I started as a copy editor more than 10 years ago, but Scaife sent word when he had something positive to say about one of my columns.
It makes you take your responsibility to the newspaper seriously when you know your publisher reads your work. (It's also kind of terrifying.)
I never discussed it with him, but it seems to me that to be invested in newspapers at this point in history has to involve a serious level of commitment to journalism. He certainly had that. Even if he didn't say it directly to each of his employees, his public announcement about the steps he took to ensure the future of the Trib demonstrated that he valued our work.
His foresight means we can pursue our dreams while supporting our families.
In the end, Scaife helped me realize that if you do things right, your life can affect people you don't know in ways you'll never know.
You don't have to know about that impact in order for that mark to be made. That's as it should be.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Tennessee QB considers transfer to Pitt
- Penn State falls at Illinois on late layup
- Oldies concert to give Charleroi school programs a boost
- Pitt upsets No. 8 Notre Dame to snap losing streak
- City crews getting ready for winter storm expected Sunday, Monday
- Suicide support group at Monongahela Valley Hospital looks to fill void
- Concert, dinner set to help California minister get new liver
- LaBar: WWE not backing down from controversy
- HOF finalist Bettis ‘behind everything’ in 2005 Super Bowl run
- Central Catholic safety Petrishen to sign with Penn State
- Shaler grad pens poems on time served in Vietnam