This space is a borrowed one at Pensions & Investments. Any P&I editor or reporter is allowed to use this column to write about a topic of interest to readers. Today, I am borrowing this space to write about a subject of great interest to our readers - Mike Clowes.
Mike is our editor. Mike is my boss, my mentor. Most of you know Mike. Many of you call and write Mike.
Because most of you know him, I decided to use this space to talk about Mike.
Mike is recuperating at home from successful triple-bypass heart surgery. He underwent the five-hour operation May 30 at a Long Island hospital. By the next day, he was sitting in a chair, talking in the background while his wife, Ellen, used the phone to inform us of his condition.
Mike then went on to tie that hospital's record for the shortest stay by a bypass patient. He went home June 3, after spending only four nights in the hospital. Being the fair-minded fellow he is, Mike made certain he informed people he did not break the record, but merely tied it.
Since then, he has spent hours enjoying one of his many loves - music. He takes daily walks. He talks on the phone.
He should be back to work in two to three months. Because he doesn't smoke or drink, is physically fit and has low cholesterol, his prognosis is excellent. He has Ellen's excellent nursing, and the prayers and moral support of hundreds of friends, colleagues and business associates. All he has working against him is heredity.
Meantime, life at P&I isn't the same without Mike. Hardly an hour doesn't go by during any work day that I don't automatically reach over to call, or e-mail, him at our New York office.
And, when something funny happens - those goofs that, fortunately, we catch before they see print - it almost hurts that Mike isn't there to laugh with us. The other day, for example, we had a story on the Maxwell trial. As originally written, the story said: "The legacy of the Maxwell scandal will long outlive the former publisher." (Anything will outlive the former publisher - he's been dead for almost four years.) Three of us had edited that story and hadn't caught it. Not only would Mike have caught the mistake, but also he would have laughed louder and longer than any of us.
Mike is a human compendium of useful and useless pension-related information. He's Mr. Pensions. In fact, learning about pensions alongside Mike is much like learning chess by playing an experienced player: No matter how much I learn, I can never checkmate Mike because he's always learning more.
What's amazing about Mike is not that everyone in the industry seems to know him. It's that everyone seems to like him. And respect him. Usually, the best a leader can hope for is one or the other. Mike has earned both.
Mike Clowes is unique, and his absence - though thankfully temporary - has left a vacuum at P&I. I am fortunate to have this column to tell him - and you - that he's missed.
If you'd like to do the same, drop him a note in care of me (Nancy Webman, Pensions & Investments, 740 N. Rush St., Chicago, Ill. 60611). I'll forward your note to him, with pleasure.