It's true, I'm the Sweeney Todd of Rubber & Plastics News. Ask our reporters, they'll tell you—I'll slice and dice away the wonderful words that make their stories too long for my editorial appetite.
Truth be told, I don't have to cut our reporter's work much—they're pretty good. Last May, however, one of our journalists wrote a really long story that had to be carved in half.
That would be me.
I wrote a piece on personal recollections of covering the ACS Rubber Division for 30 years, which ran in a special section commemorating the division's 100th anniversary. The association is continuing its year-long celebration with its fall meeting in Pittsburgh this week. So I figured I have a second chance to run some of the stuff I had to cut. Here it is, another short trip down memory lane about our favorite rubber industry professional organization:
Sleep time. There's been a lot of really interesting people involved in the Rubber Division. One of them was the late Danny Dannenberg of Cabot Corp., a frequent contributor to the technical program, and a onetime chairman.
You could always tell how interesting a paper—or a committee meeting—was by keeping an eye on Danny. Boring, he'd take a nap. Presenters were well-advised to keep an eye on Danny, and if he started nodding off, pick up the pace.
Party time. Speaking of carbon black companies, the word I heard when I first began covering the division was these particular suppliers ran the best hospitality suites. And by best, I mean wildest. I'll let your imagination fill in the blanksàI know mine did.
Exxon is smart. It seemed back in the day big suppliers—the DuPonts, Exxons (before ExxonMobil), even Goodyear—would compete to see who had the best hospitality suite. They'd have excellent food, free-flowing drinks and were packed with attendees.
At the Exxon suite they always had a spin-the-wheel game of chance, and gave away the Exxon tiger stuffed animal. I always hoped to win one for my daughter, but, alas, never could get close enough to pick a number. Exxon's actual customers, not the press, always were hogging the table, and were never asked to leave.
Gentlemen, hide your drinks. Time and again Rubber Division movers and shakers complained to us about taking pictures of members holding a drink. At a cocktail party. They even banished the word cocktail party, so their bosses wouldn't think they were having fun—heaven forbid—on the company dime.
That always struck me as silly. What people should be worried about is a camera going off while they are shoving an hors d'ouvre down their throat. Now that's a bad picture.
Final punishment. I ran in many of the Chairman's 5K walk/runs at division meetings. But when I couldn't make it, several times I forced a reporter to show up for the 6 a.m. bus to the course, to get that priceless picture of the start of the race.
They hated that more than when I cut their stories.
Noga is the editor of Rubber & Plastics News.