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Blaisdell...well, he wasn't an employee. He had his
separate division, which was a disaster. Everybody has some
disasters. He was our disaster. I told you that two of the
happiest days in my life were when we got him and when we got
rid of him.
We had one other confrontation with an editor named
McDowell, who brought us Witness. He became impossible for us.
He didn't fit in with Random House. He had different ideas--
political ideas--and he went off the beam again and again one
way or another, which I don't have to go into here. But we
decided that we had better let him depart. The question was,
who was going to fire him? Haas, Klopfer or Cerf? After a
terrific argument, we decided that the three of us would have
to do it together since nobody would do it alone. So we called
in McDowell one day to tell him that he had to leave and ended
up by loaning him $5,000 to help buy a new house. He walked
off with the $5,000 instead of being fired. When he closed
the door, we turned on each other, upbraiding each other. It
was the funniest thing. All of us were a little too softhearted
about it. He was a nice boy. He was in serious
trouble with his wife and a girl and whatnot. But I'll never
forget our ludicrous behavior of starting to fire a guy and
then not only keeping him but giving him a loan to buy a house
that he didn't need.
Did he ever pay it back?
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