>Bernie and Me

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How does one describe my publisher Bernie McCormick? With difficulty, that’s how.

But there’d be no point in this blog if I didn’t give it a good ol’ try.

Bernie’s being honored tomorrow night at Saint Anthony School’s annual Gentlemen’s Dinner. A highfalutin event that undoubtedly caters to some of Fort Lauderdale’s most dedicated and legendary businessmen and philanthropists, Bernie’s honoring is an esteemed one.

As I write this, I’m starting to understand how much influence Bernie has had on me and everyone else who’s in this crazy world of journalism. He’s been in the biz for nearly 50 years, and quite honestly, he doesn’t look like he’s going to stop any time soon.

What the outside world doesn’t know is that Bernie’s an easy target for much of our office banter. The running office jab on Bernie is that he plagiarizes. Himself. We assume there’s no legal ramifications on this, especially since the victim is also the aggressor. However, it’s always fun to read the same three topics (JFK Assassination, trains and uniforms) over and over again. One would think Bernie has a template article saved on his computer about topics like the Tri-Rail that he can just insert a new word here and there, take out a word or two, change the date, and then present it as if it’s a new article. Either our readers have short memories or they don’t read our magazine because no one’s ever commented on his repetitions.

And somehow we manage to make it work. I heard from others that Bernie’s past editors (Alan Halpern, Maggie Walker, Christie Caliendo, among others) always had a hard time engaging him. It’s no different these days. A septuagenarian with a penchant for all things Irish, Bernie couldn’t be any more different from me. I’m a Vietnamese-American who’s nearly 50 years his junior and almost a foot shorter than him. I love Gator sports (Bernie’s a La Salle University alum who roots for a non-existent football team). I don’t think a team’s football uniform has any bearing on their success and the outcome of the game (to this day, Bernie thinks the Gators lost the 2009 SEC Championship to Alabama because they came out in all-white). I can sport a tan; when Bernie tries to tan, he actually gets whiter.

I constantly joke that Bernie hasn’t done anything for Saint Anthony’s in about 20 years and hasn’t done anything for this magazine in about 30. But all kidding aside, my wry sense of humor no doubt is in contrast to the great things he’s accomplished. Bernie’s subtleties are legendary. So subtle that at times you forget what a genius he is.

He’s taught me to really have fun in journalism and with my writing. He has an ease about him that’s slowly rubbing off on me. I’m learning how to relax in pressure situations, and it no doubt is attributed to B.Mac himself.

So congrats to Bernie for the great award he’s earned from Saint Anthony’s. Tomorrow night should be a good event. As the Irish say, mazel tov.
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