GARDNER VARIETY: A weirdo’s journey back to journalism
(Opinion by Wesley Gardner, LPR Editor)
So here’s the deal: I’ve always found these “first introduction” pieces to be a little awkward. It’s not that I have any issue with meeting new people. I don’t. But the idea of trying to paint an accurate portrait of myself in 700 words or less has always left me feeling a bit anxious.
But alas, here we are. I guess I’m just going to go for it. So, uh, hello. I’m Wesley, and I’m an editor — the newest editor of the Lockhart Post-Register, in fact.
I come from a fairly extensive background in journalism, featuring stints at the Austin American-Statesman, the Bastrop Advertiser and the Fort Bend Herald, though I’ve admittedly spent the last several years chasing ventures outside the realm of reporting.
The last few years have been weird, y’all. I helped manage a children’s party place. I worked as a dispatcher for a hauling company. I built fences. I helped install glass showers. I helped manage a retail store. And I always felt lost. Deep down, I knew what was missing, but I always found ways to divert my attention from the truth.
When I initially left journalism, I was going through a bit of an existential crisis. I didn’t know who I was. I didn’t know who I wanted to be. It was the tail end of the 2016 election — the dawn of the “fake news” era — and I didn’t have the will to fight anymore. I didn’t want to engage in what I perceived to be a losing battle.
But I’ve grown. I’ve found myself. I know who I am now. I’m a journalist. I always have been. So I’ll fight for the truth, because it’s what I was made to do. A good friend once told me to only pour my heart into the things I was passionate about — to only bleed for the things I felt were truly right. And this is me.
Enough about work stuff, though. This is an intro piece, so let me tell you a little bit about myself. Typically I’d continue by sounding off a list of attributes and facts that attempt to make me look cooler than I really am, but I’ve decided to take another route. I’m going with opinions.
People tend to keep their opinions on hot-button issues to themselves, at least initially. And why not? Nobody wants to be attacked for expressing his or her views, especially when the topic is of paramount importance.
My opinions, however, are just as vital in defining who I am as any set of attributes. Plus, I’ve never minded ruffling a few feathers, so let’s do this.
First things first. Let’s talk about Batman. “Batman Begins” is the greatest Batman film of all time. Period. I realize I probably just alienated about 80 percent of my readers, but I suppose I’m all right with that.
Many of you are likely seething now, grinding your teeth as you gather all the “Dark Knight” arguments you can muster. Let me go ahead and stop you before you begin. Heath Ledger was incredible. I get it. “Batman Begins” is still better. This actually isn’t even an opinion. It’s science. You can’t change my mind.
And while we’re on the topic of superheroes, I’d like to go on the record by stating I’d be Spiderman — clearly the coolest of all masked vigilantes. Peter Parker is a nerd. I’m a nerd. It just makes sense. Plus, I’d do some serious damage with those webs.
On a more serious note, I should probably let you all know I’m a San Antonio Spurs fan. This might not actually be a bad thing around here. As a former Houstonite, however, I’ve been wading through a sea of hostility since I was six.
I’m OK with that, though. I don’t really need to defend myself. We’ve racked up five titles since 1999. That’s a dynasty, people.
I will, however, say this: Tim Duncan, arguably the greatest power forward to grace the game, has tattoos of the wizard Merlin and Dungeons and Dragons on his arms. Pure class.
So now that you guys know a little bit about me, feel free to find me on the streets and strike up a conversation. I’ll be the one with the camera hanging from his neck. I’m looking forward to becoming a part of the community.
Wesley Gardner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org