Confessions of a Census Taker

Thirty-Five Years Ago
THIS EERIE MALE still playing long shots, nevertheless would like an eerie female around the house. Special inducement, summer trip to Lake Erie.

KIM: What’s this about Gharlene taking over the Coordinator’s office? Need help? Worse! P.S. I hear he stole Sacred Brick from Trinidad.
CLASSIFIEDS, June 26, 1975

Thirty Years Ago
My employment by the Bureau of the Census...would be no ordinary job, and I was intrigued by the prospect of learning how Americans would react to a series of federally mandated questions about their personal lifestyles. Already, such a prominent political figure as Ronald Reagan had announced publicly that he would provide only the barest minimum of information requested in his census form, even if it meant paying the hundred-dollar fine that would be levied against all those refusing to cooperate.
“CONFESSIONS OF A CENSUS TAKER,” George Varga, June 26, 1980

Twenty-Five Years Ago
Late one morning during spring vacation, Fly Guy and Ozz and Camelot, three members of the rap group Ominus Jam Patrol, sit back relaxing — chilling out, they say — on the sectional couch in the North Park apartment where Camelot, a burly, blue-eyed blonde with an ivory pendant dangling from his left earlobe, lives with his mother. If Camelot were on stage at the Palisade Gardens, where he sometimes performs, he would have a microphone in his hand and a speaker by his side. Behind him would be a DJ with headphones on, intercutting and dovetailing music from two different records. The rapper and the DJ would be urging the crowd onto the floor to “turn this party out.”
“LOCAL RAP,” Judith Moore, June 27, 1985

Twenty Years Ago
Dear Matthew Alice:
I had a rather disturbing thought as I was driving down the big Laurel Street hill in the rain. Do cars with bald tires, extra-heavy loads, or just bad karma ever slide down any of San Diego’s steep hills in the rain with their brakes locked up?

I can’t find anyone official who recalls a bad-karma Ghia, or anything else for that matter, hydroplaning down Laurel Street. You apparently have fallen victim to the dreaded steep-street syndrome that causes otherwise rational drivers to poise their cars at the top of a hill and imagine all sorts of bloody consequences if they actually hurtle themselves over the brink — as if street engineers would design a road that was too steep to drive down.
STRAIGHT FROM THE HIP, Matthew Alice, June 28, 1990

Fifteen Years Ago
Whether or not rumors are true that the paper is up for sale, the San Diego Union-Tribune appears bent on cutting costs however it can. In the last year, the U-T has published at least three articles it obtained free from a local résumé-writing service. One was titled, “The Importance of a Well-Prepared Résumé,” and advises readers, “A professionally written résumé can help turn that first impression into a lasting one.” It was written by Bob McDonnell, regional director of CareerPRO, a company with some 400 offices nationwide.
CITY LIGHTS: “GOOD REPORTERS HARD TO FIND?” Thomas K. Arnold, June 22, 1995

Ten Years Ago
We got the Lakers winning the NBA championship in six, De La Hoya swallowing another loss, or Tiger Woods. Which is to say, we could have Spam and cold macaroni for dinner, or duck prosciutto with fresh ricotta toast, baked figs, saffron risotto cake, North Carolina white shrimp, grilled Paine Farm squab, and porcini mushrooms.

Whaddaya think?
SPORTING BOX: “GET USED TO IT,” Patrick Daugherty, June 22, 2000

Five Years Ago
Actually it was three months ago, my mother’s death, I mean. I just found out about it on Friday. No one in my family would tell me. They thought, I suppose, I would be so sad I would drink myself to death. I had thought about it for years and wondered how I would feel. Whatever it was, it wasn’t much. I stayed in that night though. I thought that was, at least, something.
T.G.I.F., John Brizzolara, June 23, 2005

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