RYAN BAKKEN: Reliable source says Bakken retiring
A newspaperman’s worst fear is getting scooped on a story.
That’s why I’m reporting today that I’ve learned from a reliable source that Ryan Bakken is retiring from the Grand Forks Herald. OK, it’s a semi-reliable source. But it’s true.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t last long enough to obtain geezer columnist emeritus status at the Herald. It’s clear that Marilyn Hagerty has another decade or four left in her. In fact, she seemingly grows younger by the day while I lose hair, teeth, sight and wits daily.
So, I quit.
My last work day here will be June 2, which is 40 years, 10 months and one day after I arrived with hair down to my shoulders. Those 40-plus years have been a wonderful ride — except for my hairline.
I started cleaning out the landfill otherwise known as my desk this week. I calculate that it will take the entire 10 weeks until retirement for a complete excavation. In my files are every letter and a printed copy of every e-mail that I have received from readers since 2003. The stack is 11 inches high.
Reading the correspondence from Herald subscribers brought back a lot of wonderful memories. One of them was my biggest disappointment — the cancelation of the 2004 Men of Our Communities calendar.
Sponsored by the Community Foundation of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks and Region — among the most reputable of local organizations — the calendar was designed to feature local men who appear to be posing in the nude. They’re not, of course, as items are placed strategically to hide sensitive areas that were, in reality, covered by bathing suits.
The object was to draw laughter at the pure absurdity of the notion of me, Kim Holmes and 10 other overly grown men being nude male models. Despite the reality, there were enough complaints that the calendar was inappropriate that the calendar was never printed.
Like I’m going to be an object of lust?
This was a crushing blow for me because I wanted to add “hunky nude model” to my résumé. Besides, I needed more fodder than school dance chaperoning to shame my teenage daughter.
So, yes, the calendar cancellation may be the low point of my career.
Ten years later, however, I’m guessing there are fewer prudes who would object. If there are any thoughts of reviving that calendar, you can find me at the Herald through June 2.
After then, you can find me on the golf course or in a hammock.