Dear Zazz: I'm a reporter--or perhaps I should say I was a reporter--on a big Chicago newspaper. I come into contact with all kinds of important people every day, but none of them ever meant squat to me until the day I met HER. She was young, smart, attractive, moving up in the world. My heart went zing!
Little did I know that my job would go zing not long after.
I'm telling you, Zazz, one minute I was in love and the next my whole life was turned upside down. The problem was--she's got a big job with the city and I was supposed to be writing about her. You know--getting all the dirt, keeping her honest with the taxpayers' money.
How could I stay objective and stay in love?
So I told my boss about her and asked to be given a different assignment. All he did was give me another beat in the same building, so I still saw her every day.
She meant a lot to me. I couldn't help talking about her to the guys in the newsroom. Maybe I was living off some of her fame and they got a little jealous.
I even gave up my own time to sit in on her campaign meetings, even though some of her workers wondered what a reporter was doing there.
Well, after a while she dumped me, but we still stayed friends. And when she got into trouble with her own boss, I gave her a little advice. My bosses at the newspaper found out and gave me an ultimatum--either I could quit or be fired! So I quit.
Have I been taken for a chump? I thought I'd met Ms. Right but now everything's turning out wrong. Help!
HEAD IN THE CLOUDS
Dear Stargazer: In journalism and politics, the rules are the same: 1. Never mix business with pleasure. 2. If you mix business with pleasure, never tell your coworkers. 3. If you tell your coworkers, never tell the boss. That way if he finds out from your coworkers, you can just say they're lying.
Perhaps your letter can serve as a warning to young reporters. Other than that I don't know what to tell you. Have you considered suing somebody?
Dear Zazz: Is something wrong with me? I have this thing about men. I like them and all, but I've got to think about myself, too.
I'm sort of cute and men have always wanted to take care of me. That's how I ended up with the job I have now--head of a big department in City Hall. You see, the mayor needed me because I'm Hispanic and can bring him a lot of votes.
And I really wanted this job. So you give a little, you take a little.
It's the same with the guys I date, too, like this reporter for one of the big newspapers in town. He was nice and smart and he'd been around City Hall longer than me, so he helped steer me around some of the pitfalls.
But after a while I got too busy to see him and then it was pretty much over. Now he's in a lot of trouble, and much as I'm ashamed to admit it, I've got more important things to worry about. Am I cold? Did I ever love him? Do you think I need professional help?
FEET ON THE GROUND
Dear Grounded: Stop torturing yourself. You've got a great career ahead of you. Forget him. You want to make an omelet, you've got to break some eggs.
Dear Zazz: I always try to take care of my own, but what do you do when someone you think you've got under your thumb winds up taking a bite out of the hand that feeds her?
I'm the mayor of a big city and, as you know, times have changed. My dad had it easy--when he had this job, all he had to do was deal with people with last names like Kelly, McCormick, O'Leary. I've got to please everybody! And it isn't easy.
So I found this girl. She was really pretty, and young, and just the right ethnic group--someone you didn't mind having your picture taken with. I took her under my wing, gave her money to get elected. All she had to do was play along and we'd all be on easy street.
But she double-crossed me. She wouldn't do business with my buddies. And she couldn't keep her mouth shut. She even blabbed to this newspaper reporter she was seeing.
Well, it was easy to get rid of him. A few phone calls and he was history. But she's been harder to handle. When I tried to drop her she went to the governor for protection. What could I do? You can't cross the state guys when you're trying to build a new airport. So we made up, sort of. But the old feeling is missing. Do you think I taught her too much? Any advice on what I should do now?
EGG ON MY FACE
Dear Drip: Sit with your back to the wall at all times and never tell her anything you wouldn't want the feds to hear. And consider supporting her for Congress. That way she owes you and she's hundreds of miles away where she can't give you any real trouble. It always worked for your father.