Almost too much

Some weeks are too newsy.

Where does a columnist start, what with things jumping out at him here, there and everywhere?

When in doubt, as the homicide detectives say when seeking a suspect, look close to home first.

Not long ago, The Seattle Times solicited a quote from Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Koren Robinson that I believe ought to make the next "Bartlett's Quotations."

In his attempt to explain why he was late for a practice - coach Mike Holmgren kept him out of an entire game because of it - Robinson said something much more profound than he might have meant to: "I misjudge time. I think I'm getting there earlier than I am. Then, by the time I get there, I'm too late."

Put that on my tombstone.

We all do that. We think we've got plenty of time to tell that certain someone we love them. Plenty of time to write the great American novel. Plenty of time to raise our kids right.

But time often has other ideas.

The certain someone moves on or dies. Someone else writes the almost-pretty-good American novel. Your kids grow up and do their own thing.

By the time I get there, I'm too late.

I'm glad Robinson missed practice. The quote is far better than any game performance could be.

Also close to home, it's a sad fact I probably couldn't name all eight, nine, Seattle City Councilmembers (yes, another confession, I've been back in Seattle only 18 months and have been busy working three or four jobs), and I doubt I can spell Peter Whatsisname's name without a phonebook in front of me.

But my regular perusals of both dailies have brought Jim Compton's troubles front and center.

Poor Jim used to be one of us. A reporter and also a television anchor-type guy.

Jim came here from somewhere else about 15 years ago, accompanied by a lot of fanfare.

We provincials love it when somebody from one of the big towns chooses us. Remember the Internet magazine Slate, which was going to kill print media?

Anyway, Jimbo came here, and he done good.

He let his hair go naturally gray, kept talking a lot on television while letting someone else hold the mike and even gained a little weight at the political trough.

And then, darn, if old Jim didn't get brought up short by his former profession.

Reporters have been picking on Jim lately. First of all, they caught him taking donation money from some strip-club owner. He wasn't alone here; a couple of the nice ladies, Judy and Heidi, did that, too.

And Jim acted all surprised anyone would take it amiss. Hey, the strip-club guy wouldn't have to expand his parking lot if a whole lot of people weren't going in there. Dance fans, I call those fellas.

But then, while Heidi and Judy kind of laid low, Jimbo did it again.

Folks found out he'd been flying around on one of Paul Allen's planes and getting tickets - "comps," they are often called - to some of Paul's sports teams' games.

None of this would really matter if Jimbo were a private citizen. But you guys, the taxpayers, support him while he makes supposedly unbiased decisions about our city's future. Like the South Lake Union redevelopment plan pushed front and center every decade by the same Mr. Allen.

Jimbo threw up his hands again and "reimbursed" the Allens. He didn't know what he'd done might be considered inappropriate by some.

Now remember, this isn't some Trustafarian who decided to "help" Seattle. You know, "give back to the community," another one of my favorite phrases.

This was a reporter.

My first media job, way back in 1980, after I graduated from the University of Cincinnati, was as a television reporter. I worked for WCPO-TV 9, Cincinnati's CBS affiliate. We signed a "no payola" sheet as part of our hiring in. And they weren't kidding.

A young reporter I liked a lot, named Tracy, was covering the closing of an adult T-shirt store (this was Cincinnati, where "Oh, Calcutta!" was busted and actors were arrested). Tracy took a couple of joke T-shirts from the store's owner. Two T-shirts.

Tracy's videographer told someone back at the station, and Tracy was gone. Fired. New career in shambles.

Tracy went south and wound up working radio news in some smaller, muggier market.

We all saw that. We didn't take a glass of water if it was offered. We were reporters, and we had reported to each other on poor Tracy.

Now Jimbo was a reporter first, and he's even older than I am.

So pardon me if I say I can't quite believe the man isn't aware of what's going on when he flies around on Paul Allen's plane, or sits gratis at some Paul Allen-owned sporting event.

Trust me here, Jimbo knows.

I didn't vote for Jimbo in the primary, and I won't be voting for him in November.

I'm hoping when you guys are done going to the polls, Jimbo will have to apply to Slate for a job.

I guess, cynical, old me, I don't trust this incarnation of Jimbo as much as I did the big-city reporter come here to help the natives understand what the heck was going on out in the big world.

Which, by the way, is still something I need help with. Brothers Bush and Cheney have me plenty confused.

But that's another story for another time.

Freelance columnist Dennis Wilken can be reached at needitor@nwlink. com.

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