Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sending Good Vibes To John L. Smith

This morning's newspaper arrived with news from Review-Journal columnist John L. Smith that he just underwent surgery for throat cancer. As usual, he disclosed it and described his experience with the flair and grace that he has displayed for decades as, by far, the most gifted columnist in the state.

It sounds like they have the problem in hand, and here's to John making a full recovery. It's kind of amazing to realize that he was out in the hot Vegas sun chasing down a wayward voter who might have thrown a 1-vote North Las Vegas City Council race even as he was getting second opinions on how to address his diagnosis. That front-page column, in fact, ran the same day, Aug. 5, he had seven hours of surgery to remove the cancer. I'm certain the night before he was being wheeled into the OR, he was answering questions from copy editors. In a city of many columnists -- heck, reporters! -- who never get off their duffs to literally chase a story, John remains true to the craft and a lonely, exceptional example for the rest of us.

John is also, by a large measure, one of the best human beings in Las Vegas media. He's just a nice, humble, friendly man. And the hits he's suffered in recent years -- his daughter's brain cancer, bankruptcy brought on by Sheldon Adelson's hubris, divorce, a DUI and now his own cancer -- returns us to the age-old question of why bad things happen to good people.

Today's column sounded a little bit more valedictory than I hope he intended. He writes as though he's got one foot out the newsroom door, and that would be a tremendous loss for the R-J and the community.

Miles joins me in hoping John has a speedy recovery. The city needs him, perhaps more than it knows.


The Celiac Husband said...

Even though we moved back to Canada a few years ago, his column I still seek out when I read the RJ (and Norm's)
We followed his battles as well as his writing because as you said, he is brilliant.

detroit1051 said...

Nice tribute to a good guy. I haven't done my homework. I had always thought it was Steve Wynn, not Sheldon Adelson, who caused Smith's bankruptcy. Best wishes for good health to John L. Smith!