February 26, 2014 - Not too long ago -- on one of those subzero, Polar Blast Days we experienced -- area business man Ed Adler called me. Before answering said call, I first doubled checked my schedule to make sure I had the time to converse with Ed. I'm not saying he's long-winded, but -- oh hell -- yes, I am saying Ed Adler has been known to bend a few ears in his day. I say this affectionately because I like Ed, but the man can surely talk.
Anyway . . .
"Don, Adler here," his distinct voice reached me through the land-lined phone next to my ear. "I hear what's happening up there in Clarkston with some officials thinking it is not fair your newspaper does its job.
"Let me tell you a story from when I was a younger man. I would go with my dad into some labor negotiations against the union president. (For decades in these parts, Ed's family owned and operated grocery stores -- some may remember FoodTown, that was theirs.)
"First, the union president called me 'Sonny' because he knew I didn't like it. Well, one time, I complained that their proposal was not fair. He looked at me and said, 'Sonny, we're talking about peoples' wages and working conditions. If you want fair, it's at 8 Mile and Woodward.'
"Government officials gotta understand newspapers do what they have to do and it has nothing to do with being fair," Ed said.
(And, for readers not old enough to know, for over 100 years, the Michigan State Fair was located on Woodward Avenue, just south of 8 Mile Road.)
Of course, what Ed told me was something I was quite familiar with. My dear old (now dead) pappy always lectured on what was fair and what was not. Life, he would say, is not fair. I would add onto his statement, neither is death fair. Dad died in 1996 at the age of 60 and I've missed him every day since.
I went on-line and looked up some stuff on "fair" and its opposite, "unfair."
First, I went to the Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary and looked up "unfair." Here's what I got: "1: marked by injustice, partiality, or deception; unjust; 2: not equitable in business dealings."
I think I thought something like, "duh."
* * *
Okay, I wanted to see if Ed's, my dad's, the union president's and my opinion of "fair" was off the mark. So, I dug deeper and found these quotes.
"I mean, I really do think that love is the best thing in the world, except for cough drops. But I also have to say, for the umpty-umpth time, that life isn't fair. It's just fairer than death, that's all."
-- William Goldman
"I will never deny that life isn't fair. It seems as though when a woman leaves a man she is strong and independent, but when a man leaves a woman he is a pig and a jerk." -- Criss Jami
"…it's better in fact to be guilty of manslaughter than of fraud about what is fair and just."
"Life is never fair, and perhaps it is a good thing for most of us that it is not." -- Oscar Wilde
"Fair is foul, and foul is fair: Hover through the fog and filthy air." -- William Shakespeare
"Life is not fair; get used to it." -- Bill Gates
"I know the world isn't fair, but why isn't it ever unfair in my favor?" -- Bill Watterson
* * *
Let's get one thing straight: I like to be fair. I like to think I think pretty-darned impartial-like. I am fond of giving everybody their due, their shot for justice. I weigh pros and cons every day of the year, just like every other sane person on this spinning mass of rock and gas we call Earth. The problem, these days I think, is when folks think they are "owed" something for nothing (unfairly, I might add).
* * *
Back to Ed's story.
So before we said our good-byes (the conversation actually lasted something shy of five minutes), Ed's voice got a little lighter, a little brighter. I could hear he was smiling.
"Don, I just wanted to let you know I'm calling from the pool," I think he was in Florida. "And, this young girl just came by and is taking off her jeans and now her shirt. She's wearing a bikini that if you take all of the fabric it took to make, wouldn't make up a handkerchief. Bye, Don."
Totally, not fair, Ed. Not fair at all.
Don is Assistant Publisher for Sherman Publications, Inc. He has worked for the company since 1985. He has won numerous awards for column, editorial and feature writing as well as for photography. He has two, sons Shamus and Sean and resides in the area. To read archived copies of his columns, click on his name, just under his picture up top . . . He can be e-mailed at: firstname.lastname@example.org