Julia Spitz: Am I bad enough for a big bonus?

Julia Spitz

Call my editor.

Tell him I haven't written anything worth reading in weeks. Tell him you have reason to believe I'm singlehandedly killing the newspaper industry. Tell him I'm to blame for whatever's going on at the Globe, the Herald, USA Today, The New York Times and any other paper you care to name.

As a matter of fact, after you're done telling my editor, tell anyone else who'll listen.

Think national. Or, better yet, global.

Testify on Beacon Hill, write to Congress, lobby stockholders, whatever it takes. Just get my name out there and make it common public knowledge: Spitz does a lousy job.

With your help, I'm sure I can get the big, fat bonus I deserve.

I want to be like the Unitil CEO who got an extra $300,000, despite the fact thousands of Unitil customers in this state were left without power for days, even weeks, after a December ice storm.

And I want to be like the execs over at AIG.

Sure, President Obama is pretty steamed at insurance giant American International Group. He says he intends to stop the company from paying millions of dollars in bonuses after all they've done to our nation's economy and all they've taken in government bailout money.

"It's hard to understand how derivative traders at AIG warranted any bonuses, much less $165 million in extra pay," Obama said at an appearance to announce help for small businesses hurt by the recession. "How do they justify this outrage to the taxpayers who are keeping the company afloat?"

I'd say they'd justify it as business as usual.

Lose $61.7 billion in the fourth quarter, take billions in federal rescue money, and claim you've got to pay millions to your top staff because if you don't, they might want to leave their jobs.

Oh, dear. We wouldn't want that.

No, surely we'd want to make sure great minds like that aren't lured away to some competitor. We'd just have to bail their new employers out next year.

Plus these folks who were promised big bonuses will sue if they don't get them.

Yes, far better to fork out giant rewards to those whose performance is lacking than risk a court fight. We wouldn't want to risk letting a jury of regular Americans decide how that would go, now would we?

Look, I don't need millions. I know times are tough, especially in the newspaper business.

But if you call and tell my boss I'm lousy at my job, surely there will be a few thousand dollars coming my way.

What's in it for you, you ask?

Well, if you were one of the folks who used to read "The Parent Trap" column, the one I wrote for years while working the nightshift, I might be able to swing something.

If you were with me there in the beginning, I might have a job for you.

No columnist at this newspaper has had a personal assistant for as long as anyone can remember, but that shouldn't matter. I'm certain there was a time such a position was deemed essential, sort of like the post of assistant director of the Massachusetts Health and Educational Facilities Authority.

And just as the HEFA post has been revived and filled by a Deval Patrick loyalist, we can revive the role of assistants and fill them with Spitz loyalists.

For good measure, we'll also demand equal treatment under the law or we'll threaten to sue.

Just because this newspaper is located in Middlesex County doesn't mean we don't deserve Suffolk County perks. Starting today, no more working on St. Patrick's Day. I mean Evacuation Day. Yeah, that's it. Evacuation Day. The day the British left Boston in 1776. You know, the holiday that wasn't recognized as a day off for Boston until 1901. The one that for some reason is celebrated with mass quantities of green beer.

So, what do you say? This could work out extremely well. Money for me. A job for you. A bonus day off for both of us. Win-win-win.

And it all starts with picking up the phone.

Just make it known I'm running the industry into the ground. I've left you in the lurch. I'm solely responsible for the rise in newsprint costs. It's all my fault the Rocky Mountain News went under.

Hey, maybe I even wrote the jokes for politicians at the annual St. Patrick's Breakfast in Southie that went over like lead balloons.

Whatever it takes to convince the powers-that-be I'm worthy of a big bonus.

It's worked well for so many others for so long.

So long as neither of us gets bogged down by conscience, this thing is in the bag.

(Julia Spitz can be reached at 508-626-3968 or jspitz@cnc.com. Check metrowestdailynews.com or milforddailynews.com for the Spitz Bits blog.)