I know I am lucky, because I have left one dream job for another.
I cannot run “Dry Martino” in the Press anymore.
Look, I have admittedly had some rough times in the past four years. I got divorced, as anyone who has read this column knows. It was a shocking turn of events for me. Right before that happened, though, I was offered my position at the Press. I had been working in public relations for about 10 years at that point and welcomed the change with wide open arms.
Without knowing it, having had the opportunity to join the Press became a lifejacket for me.
I suddenly had a job that allowed me to write again, something I always wanted to do. As a kid, I made my own newspapers and wrote probably a hundred stories, countless poems and songs. I devoured newspapers. To this day, I just love the news.
When I graduated from college, I got a job working for a local weekly paper chain, and then went to trade magazines. On my very first day at this big publishing company, working for a magazine called Maintenance Supplies, I was handed my first assignment. I had to write an article about the Nilodor Toilet Mint.
This was not journalism, per se, but rather, advertorial. As such, I would get besieged by PR people calling to pitch their products. And one day, I said “I could do that.” And I did, for more than 10 years.
But at the Press, I was given latitude beyond description. Despite being older than almost everyone except my editor in chief, I felt like an outsider and a usurper. I admired the talents of my colleagues, and only hoped to prove myself to not be some sort of carpetbagger, but a committed journalist.
Then I was given the chance to write “Dry Martino,” maybe because my publisher gets a kick out of my sense of humor. It had to be about my life, or life in general. Not as easy as it sounds, I assure you.
My main muse, of course, has been my daughter, Julia Rose, another example of dreams coming true. I dreamt I’d be the daddy of a little girl. I asked God for her. I had visions of her hand in mine, of cuddling up for a nap and having at least one woman—besides my mom, of course—who thinks I’m great. Lord above, she is just wonderful. I loved letting people know about my life as a dad, and it was probably the most resonant theme I followed.
One week, I realized that if I wanted to keep writing “Dry Martino,” I would have to begin to reveal some painful stuff, and finally wrote about my divorce.
There were weeks when I would hold my breath before submitting the column, knowing I was going to dangerously personal places. Once it was in print, it could not be taken back, of course. But without fail, whenever I ran a column that was sensitive to me, I received the most feedback. In one issue I said I would stop writing about divorce because I felt like I was whining. I was besieged with response to reconsider. Read one: “I hate to say it, but misery loves company. Keep writing.”
So I did.
I’ve had readers call me brilliant, and some have called me an asshole. I have fans. I won a couple of awards, too. Mostly, I got to be a writer. I got to live a dream.
But now I can’t do it anymore, because I have taken a dream job elsewhere, in a capacity where moonlighting as a journalist is out of the question. I am the “guy behind the guy,” a position I have always wanted. You’ll see my name in print, but it won’t be as much fun.
I guess my thoughts will live on the Press website, and at www.drymartino.com.
It won’t be the same, but things have to change. Admittedly, I am not always great with change, either. But life is about the ride, about the journey. Hopefully this column will serve as a chronicle of this chapter of my life. I hope Julia will read through them one day and know who her dad was.
And the column has served as evidence that life does answer your dreams. If it didn’t, nobody would dream at all. And that’s not my world.
Thanks for reading. Peace.