Mike Royko gave me a reason to want to open the newspaper. This isn't much to do with plastics, but it's everything to do with Chicago. When I think of Chicago, I always think of Royko. The hard-hitting columnist for the Chicago Daily News, the Sun-Times and then the Tribune made me laugh and better yet, made me think. He touched lives when his only weapon was ink and paper in a world gone awry.
So as we embark upon the Windy City for five days of focus on the plastics industry, I share with you Royko's Chicago, his words on several topics characteristically Chicago. Royko died in 1997. His memorial service was held in Wrigley Field.
Richard J. Daley
``If a man ever reflected a city, it was Richard J. Daley of Chicago. In some ways, he was this town at its best - strong, hard-driving, working feverishly, pushing, building, driven by ambitions so big they seemed Texas-boastful. In other ways, he was this city at its worst - arrogant, crude, conniving, ruthless, suspicious, intolerant. He wasn't graceful, suave, witty or smooth. But then, this is not Paris or San Francisco. He was raucous, sentimental, hot-tempered, practical, simple, devious, big and powerful. This is, after all, Chicago.''
Shopping in Chicago
``I still haven't figured out why it is such a big deal that Bloomingdale's, the New York department store, has opened a branch in Chicago. The newspapers, TV stations and disc jockeys have become giddy over the arrival of the store. The silliness may have peaked when a gushy female reporter from the New York Times called and asked me to describe my own excitement. I explained to her that while certain activities excite me, most of which I would not describe to a respectable woman, the opening of a Bloomingdale's store is not one of them.''
``I was impressed. Second City was already a nationally known improvisational theater group. I wish I could say that after I saw him perform, I knew he would one day be a big star. But I didn't. I could see he had a flair, but I wouldn't have bet you money that by the time he was 30, he'd have one of the most familiar faces in America. A lot of people are funny, but very few have a talent that might be called genius.''
Finally, no column about Chicago or Royko would be complete without mention of the Cubs.
In his column of March 21, 1997, titled, ``It was Wrigley, not some goat, who cursed the Cubs,'' Royko wrote, ``Yes, blame for many of the Cubs' failings since 1945 can be placed on a dumb creature. Not a poor, dumb creature but a rich one. I'm talking about P.K. Wrigley, head of the chewing gum company and the owner of the Cubs until he died in 1977.''
So there you have it. Enjoy NPE.
Angie DeRosa is a Plastics News staff reporter based in Oklahoma City.