PC users know that control + alt + delete is the universal command to restart your computer. And now my life needs a restart.
Time to reboot. Control + Alt + Delete.
This has been a long time coming. After years of struggling, we’ve come to the point that we have to start over. A series of setbacks, mistakes and a bit of bad luck have brought me to this point.
My house is a perfect metaphor for my life: It’s slowly falling apart and in a few months, the house will be gone. I don’t expect my life to be “gone,” but it will soon be radically altered. Goodbye house, goodbye marriage. Hello, bankruptcy.
This didn’t happen overnight, and rebuilding a life doesn’t happen overnight. But it happens nonetheless.
After a pretty good run as an editor for Knight Ridder newspapers, things went south. Newspaper circulation and ad revenues declined dramatically in the 2000s, and many media outlets (not just newspapers — TV and radio too) were forced to make radical staffing cuts. And guess who found himself on the chopping block? That happened after Knight Ridder ceased to exist, the result of combined revenue loss, competition from Internet sites, and unrealistic profit demands from institutional stock holders. Really, maintain a 20 percent profit margin in 2006? McClatchy acquired Knight Ridder, then sold off the less “desirable” papers in the chain. So in the course of a couple of months, the Akron Beacon Journal changed hands twice. Enter the new owner, who saw the books and realized he’d paid too much. And you know what that means: Chop, chop, chop.
And so I bounced from assignment to assignment, with some occasional gaps in between, picking up anything I could find in a mostly crappy economy. Our finances suffered, saving was wiped out, and the marriage suffered. There’s plenty of blame to go around for that, but my wife was accustomed to a certain level of comfort — not extravagant, but solidly middle-class — and that existence evaporated. Poof! Gone. She blamed me for that.
It finally reached the point that she said, “I can’t do this anymore.” Can’t argue much with that. Quite simply, we have grown apart over the last few years. We don’t have fun together; we don’t do much of anything together except squabble.
So, control + alt + delete.
Then a funny thing happened recently: Saw an opening for a copy editing job in Elyria, not too far up the road. Yesterday was my first day on the job (Talk about burying the lead!). And at one moment last night, I thought to myself, “I am among my people.”
The reboot is happening.