The city editor of a great New York daily was known in the newspaper world as a martinet and severe disciplinarian. Some of his caustic and biting criticisms are classics. Once, however, the tables were turned upon him in a way that left him speechless for days.
A reporter on the paper wrote an article that the city editor did not approve of. The morning of publication this reporter drifted into the office and encountered his chief, who was in a white heat of anger. Carefully suppressing the explosion, however, the boss started in with ominous and icy words:
"Mr. Blank, I am not going to criticize you for what you have written. On the other hand, I am profoundly sorry for you. I have watched your work recently, and it is my opinion, reached after calm and dispassionate observation, that you are mentally unbalanced. You are insane. Your mind is a wreck. Your friends should take you in hand. The very kindest suggestion I can make is that you visit an alienist and place yourself under treatment. So far you have shown no sign of violence, but what the future holds for you no one can tell. I say this in all kindness and frankness. You are discharged."
The reporter walked out of the office and wandered up to Bellevue Hospital. He visited the insane pavilion, and told the resident surgeon that there was a suspicion that he was not all right mentally and asked to be examined. The doctor put him through the regular routine and then said,
"Right as a top."
"Sure?" asked the reporter. "Will you give me a certificate to that effect?" The doctor said he would and did. Clutching the certificate tightly in his hand the reporter entered the office an hour later, walked up to the city editor, handed it to him silently, and then blurted out,
"Now you go get one."