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Ormond Beach Observer Thursday, Aug. 8, 2013 5 years ago

The man, the myth, the new guy

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I’ve given a lot of thought this past week about how an esteemed — nay, beloved — newspaperman such as myself should go about introducing a new staffer to town.

I could begin my announcement with a medieval-style “Here ye! Here ye!” That’s always an option — and a strong one at that.

I could say nothing, make it like a little game. You’d keep seeing a new name in the bylines and you’d think, “Who is this mystery man?!” You’d ask your neighbors, your friends. Grocery store lines would be buzzing. It would be huge.

Or I could come right out with it, not overcomplicate things, just write, “Former freelancer Wayne Grant has been hired as the Ormond Beach Observer’s newest staff writer.”

That would work. But then I’d have to go on to explain that Wayne has lived in Ormond since 1988, after moving from Wisconsin, where he got his journalism degree. Maybe I’d even bring up his former ties to the News-Journal and the Hometown News to really stir up some competitive drama — you know, get the people around the water cooler talking.

Any of those options are fine. They do the job. But come on; we can do better.

Maybe the rest of the paper has to be bound by “facts,” but this is Page 6. My domain. You’re in the Spin Zone, babycake! I like to think of this chunk of print as the paper’s hot corner. No rules. No apologies. It’s like the Wild West in here.

Close your eyes; you can almost smell Clint Eastwood’s grimy old poncho.

So I thought it’s only appropriate that Wayne get the Cavaliere treatment here. Think of it as hazing. So here goes: Wayne Grant, the story they don’t want you to see. It’s time you meet our newest staff writer — as I see him.

***

Like Shaft, Wayne Grant is a complicated man.

He’s a street tough with a heart of gold. A rambler. A seeker. He shows up to work every day on a pogo stick.

I once saw him eat a live python for lunch.

With the looks of a young Brando and a Connery-like sense of style, Wayne’s got the “skeelz” to pay the “beelz,” as the kids in my hood would say (in my hood, the kids also call quiet, low-crime suburbs “hoods”).

Wayne is punk-rock like the Ramones, but with a refined, Niles-and-Frasier side to boot. He doesn’t sleep.

He invented Jazzercise.

Wayne can speak 12 languages: English, and 11 dialects of Pig Latin.

He knows every word to “The Macerena,” although he doesn’t care much for the dance.

He never, ever repeats himself. And he’s never lost a game of Chinese checkers.

Any questions?

Email [email protected].

BY MIKE CAVALIERE | ASSOCIATE EDITOR

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