The main reason I wound up working at The Miami Herald in the early eighties was that I was wooed by a brilliant, funny and clinically insane editor named Gene Weingarten. We became close friends, and we remained close even after Gene went to The Washington Post, where he eventually became a columnist and feature writer.
Over the years, Gene and I have collaborated on various projects. This is a challenging process, because Gene is a man of strong and numerous opinions. If you disagree with him, his opening tactic, in winning you over to his side, is to observe that you are the biggest moron on the planet. After that he gets personal.
I’ve had many entertaining arguments with Gene on a wide range of issues, including which of us has a bigger oosik. (An oosik is the bone from the penis of a walrus. Gene and I each own one.) We've both won some arguments and lost some; neither of us, to my recollection, has ever been gracious about it. One of the running jokes that developed between us is that at some point in the argument, usually early, I will remind Gene that I have won a Pulitzer Prize, and he has not. I have used this particular argument – this is a conservative estimate – 119 million times. And Gene has never had a good answer for it.
I am very pleased to report that Mr. Gene Weingarten has won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for feature writing. Gene, congratulations on an honor that is well-deserved and overdue. I’m thrilled for you, and genuinely happy that I can never use that particular argument against you again.
But my oosik is still bigger than yours.