Mike Cote's Business Editor's Notebook: Joe Sullivan and the big picture
Remember the three-second rule.
Get the big picture.
I've been driving for nearly 35 years now, and I still can't get Joe Sullivan's voice out of my head. He'd be pleased to know I have a near-spotless driving record and enjoy a safe driver discount on my auto insurance.
Jerky stops. Wobbly turns. Poor timing. Slow response. He once had to use that dual brake - the emergency one for instructors installed in the training car - when I veered into oncoming traffic rather than stopped after a driver parked on the side of the street opened his car door.
Joe Sullivan died Monday in Manchester and was celebrated Thursday at St. Catherine of Siena Church by hundreds of family and friends whose lives he touched as a father, a teacher, a coach, a sportswriter.
While Sullivan's driver's ed voice travels with me on the road, his English teacher's voice is always nearby when I'm working. He reminds me to tell a story, to use my own words, to trust those crazy ideas and follow them to see where they go.
Heck, I could scribble out a short story at the breakfast table before school faster than I could work out a bunch of advanced math problems.
And sometimes I did.
I got a taste of what adrenaline brings you when you're writing on deadline, even if I was creating my own worlds and characters and not beholden to facts and quotes about real people. If I did my job well, Joe would scribble a complimentary note in the margins of that handwritten story: "You make me see!"
Joe helped us get the big picture.
Mike Cote is business editor at the Union Leader. Contact him at 668-4321, ext. 324 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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