A few years ago it was commonplace to hear some of the old hands at the paragraph factory reminisce about the colorful types they’d written about and mourn that Baltimore had gone all vanilla. There aren’t any real characters anymore, they’d say, shaking their heads.
Then came Laura Vozzella, whose last column for The Baltimore Sun appears in today’s print edition. I invite you to look at the first paragraph:
“The City Council president showed me his underwear. The state prosecutor let me try on Sheila Dixon’s ill-gotten mink. A state delegate swore at me for asking why she’d lied about her age. A priest denounced me from the pulpit. And David Simon sent me lots of angry messages.”
For that matter, I invite you to read the entire valedictory during the interval that it’s still available on the website. Ms. Vozzella has had an eye—and an ear and a nose—for the detail that illuminates the inner wackiness. I often had the pleasure of editing her columns, and it was a delight to attempt to craft headlines that lived up to the material.*
And now she leaves us to go to work for a newspaper forty miles down the road that does very well in its little way. For them she will cover Virginia politics.
I would almost paraphrase Thomas More speaking to Master Rich in A Man for All Seasons: It would not have profited you to give up Baltimore for the whole world, but for Virginia? Haven’t you firmly established how plentiful the supply of loons is here?
*The delight was evidently reciprocal. When I left Calvert Street on my [cough] hiatus [cough], she wrote a sweet column about how her dictionary had walked out the door.