To: Luke
From: Owen
Re: E3 Done

Got a really flattering phone call the other day, from the publisher of the Washington (N.C.) Daily News. I interned there in 1994 - it was my first news writing job, the summer before my senior year of college. They're celebrating their 100th anniversary and asked if I would share my memories of my brief time there. I told him I was delighted to do so.

In writing it up, there was one memory I didn't mention, as I come by it second hand, it doesn't involve me, it may even be apocryphal, and it involves a word you can't print in a family paper. Except it once was, in 72-point type.

See, the WDN's advertising manager told me that the Belk's - it's a department store - had once bought a back page ad to clear some of its stock in the men's department. So the largest type atop the page meant to advertise a BIG SHIRT SALE. Yet one crucial letter was missing. You can guess which it was. Somehow it was lost in the composition process and unnoticed during the entire press run.

Belk's typically is the largest ad account for a community paper in North Carolina (at least, it was back then). So Gene, the ad manager, went in personally to apologize to the general manager and beg him not to cancel his business. No doubt someone was going to be canned; if they lost the Belk's account, it was probably Gene's ass, too. In his office, the GM raised his palm the moment Gene started his apology.

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"Gene, I've had more people come into my store because of that ad than any other we've ever run," he said. "Can you run it again tomorrow?"

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