The budget at the news meeting mentioned a story on the wire about the Supreme Court's consideration of a case on mandatory-minimum drug sentencing disparities that send a disproportionate share of black folks to jail. It didn't get picked for the front page, though another wire story about the reported cocaine shortage did make the paper. It's always fun to be the only black person in the room when those stories come up. I came thisclose to joking "I prefer Diet Crack," but I held my tongue.
I had my headphones on an hour later when an editor laughed loudly and clapped me on the shoulder. I turned around in my chair and took my headphones off. "What do you prefer, George?" he said. "An M4?" I was confused, but remembered a recent article in the New Yorker: "Do you mean Leicas?"
He took it in stride. "No, I wasn't talking about cameras," he said with a smile, and gestured to a reporter standing nearby. "He and I were just talking about getting a logo for the site's section, and I wondered if an M4 would work. You know, the semiautomatic rifle? I was saying George probably knows all about that."
I just-about smiled. "Actually," I said, "a laptop can do more damage than a gun these days." They both looked puzzled. "You mean, you could probably hit someone really hard in the head with one?" the reporter asked. "No," I said. "You could hack someone's bank account." Then I smiled for real, turned back to my laptop and put my earphones back on.