Editorial by Seth Dukes
When I look back at my career, there are a lot of stories and moments that I’m extremely proud of. There are also a lot of moments that I’m not so proud of. In hindsight, a lot of them are pretty hilarious. Let me take you back to the beginning of 2016. I had just graduated college with a degree in Professional Writing. I had absolutely no intention of becoming a journalist at that time. Frankly, I had no idea what I had the intention of becoming. But, my degree gave me a wide variety of skills, and I was confident that I could translate them to the job market. I moved back home to Muhlenberg County after graduating and began applying for jobs locally. My intention was to save up some money so that, when the opportunity arose, I’d be able to comfortably move to wherever the best job was. I applied at our local newspaper, got the job, and began my life as a journalist. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I don’t say that out of modesty, I mean that literally. I had never taken a journalism class, never used a camera, nothing. I often equate the experience to learning another language by just moving to another country and winging it. One of the first events I remember covering was the groundbreaking of a new hospital. I had never been to a groundbreaking before, so I really had no idea what to expect. I arrived on scene, and State Senator C.B. Embry was there. I had not met a state senator before, so I stood off to the side, playing it cool and making it look like I belonged there. C.B. began to walk up to me. For those of you that haven’t met C.B., he’s probably one of the nicest and most personable elected officials to ever set foot in Frankfort. I began to run through the inevitable dialogue in my head. Hi Seth! I’m C.B., the new reporter at the Leader-News…no, that’s not right. Hi Leader-News! I’m Seth, the new reporter at the C.B. Embry…no… “Hello young man,” he said as he arrived at the tent I was standing under. “Hello! I’m Seth Dukes, the new reporter at the Leader-News!” I said with enthusiasm and confidence. Nailed it. “Nice to meet you,” he said as he handed me his business card. “My cell phone number is on the back, so you just give me a call if you ever need anything.” As I said thank you, I began to feel much better. Crisis averted, I thought. Suddenly, C.B. began to inch closer and closer to me — specifically, my ear. Was he about to tell me a secret about corruption at the Capitol? Maybe he was going to give me the scoop on the scandal at the Muhlenberg County Courthouse. “Your barn door is open,” he whispered. I looked down, hoping and praying that I was having a nightmare, and saw that C.B. was right — my barn door was open. There is no good way to zip up your pants in public. There are some ways that are better than others, but there are exactly zero good ways. I checked to make sure that no one was paying close attention to me, and remedied my problem. C.B. and I had many interactions in the years that would follow, and he never mentioned our first encounter. I’m not sure if he just blocked the unfortunate event from his memory, or if he was just too nice to make me relive the moment. Either way, C.B. earned a lifelong voter that day.