‘Goodbye, Arnold’

DEAR Arnold, it is unfortunate that you will not be spending Christmas with us. We will miss you. We will miss your sense of humor. We will miss the jokes and the banter. We will miss the expertise you alone can muster. We will miss your humility to accept things and situations as they are.

Arnold Pajaron, one of our editors at Remate Tonight, went ahead of us into the beyond. He met an accident last Friday and was in coma until he breathed his last yesterday. He will surely be missed. We know people love him. He was the kind of man who is difficult not to love.

I know little of Arnold. My good friend Benny said Arnold was a veteran in the tabloid business. Benny said he knew Arnold since the mid-1990s, adding that it was Arnold who gave him the break in media. Benny took Arnold as editor for Remate Tonight early this year. It was then when I first met the man. He was not a difficult man to work with. He was the kind of man who knows what he was doing.

The few times I watched him work at the editorial office, I was floored. I used to look down at sexy tabloid stories. Arnold changed my view of his kind. He was the only one in the office, I believe, who uses the online dictionary, the thesaurus and who does research on the Web for the stories he would be writing.

He was also one of a few editors and writers I saw who knows how to use a Web browser by opening tabs instead of windows. On one tab is his email, on another is Wikipedia, on another a search engine for research, another tab for the dictionary or thesaurus, another for a different search engine for research.

He could work on various tasks at different times: he edits the metro page while writing a part of a series of his stories, he proofreads his page while trying to research for another story, he talks with co-workers while watching the news on TV, etc.

He knew his craft. When Fort, one of our editors, told him that the metro stories should be shortened because our reporters have the tendency to be verbose, Arnold cut the stories into a few sentences. When I told him the stories were too short, he said that was all the reporters wanted to say.

Arnold, who used to be a top editor of another tabloid and who was years ahead of us in the business, was unlike others who brag about their expertise or experience. Every time I arrived in the office, he would be sitting on one side. “Kumusta, Boss Joe,” was how he would greet me even as he would struggle to stand on his one good leg.

Last week, I sat beside him. I joked that I am a fan of his writings. He just laughed. After a few minutes, he stood up and waved at me. “Ingat,” I said, not knowing that it was the last time I would wave at the man. Good bye, Mang Arnold! Ingat! Joe Torres


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