It’s happened again. Only this time, I cheated. I peeked.

Sure enough, even if I hadn’t peeked, the affable, gregarious and incredibly talented Chris Trainor and I chose National Newspaper Week as our topic du jour. Is should that be du week? Anyway, it’s the last day of this special week set aside to celebrate newspapers. I like to think of it as an opportunity to connect yet again with our readers as a community newspaper, something I trust we do on a near-daily basis.

Chris’s journey into the world of newspapering is sort of similar to my own. There are kids who enter college knowing exactly what they want to study, what degree they plan to earn and what career they intend to enter.

I started college as a psychology major. Then I toyed with switching to theater. And then I settled on English literature. OK, you can laugh now.

Paul deGategno, my counselor and English professor, thought I would surely enter the teaching field. Me? I just knew I had to hurry up and get the rest of my course load done to graduate with just enough hours in a four-year span. What lay ahead? Clueless.

Now I’m not suggesting that Chris went through college completely clueless before landing a gig at the IJ 17 years ago, but a newspaper career wasn’t necessarily at the top of the heap. A voracious reader of the IJ, yes, but also a sports fanatic and movie aficionado is what Chris was. And yet is.

Nor am I saying I got into the business because I wanted to be a sports clerk or even a stringer. My sports knowledge is limited. I would have gotten some of those questions right that Mike Stone put in the test he gave Chris, but it wasn’t until fairly recently that I learned the higher score — bigger number, if you will — is not always the winner in sports. Imagine my embarrassment upon boasting a few years ago when I finally put a real club in hand and played golf that I’d scored a 78. On the back 9. I asked people what I should declare as my handicap. I thought that too was a number, but they suggested a word — playing. I still like to hit the bright yellow, red or orange ball. Can’t see the white ones.

At any rate, I took my degree back home with my belongings and set out to find work in Heaven. That’s Virginia’s Eastern Shore, in case you wondered. I did enjoy reading and writing. It was reading and writing college papers that allowed me to BS my way to getting a BA in English. So I took a shot at the local weekly paper that served the Shore. That was I could remain at home, be of help to my recently widowed mother and her mother.

But no luck. So I headed back to Rocky Mount, North Carolina where some friends also took up jobs after graduation. They were either too lazy to pack up and find a job elsewhere or just loved the area. Dave Fezler and Anne Eller will get a kick out of this, but I actually came close to getting a job at a radio station where I would sell ads, get a shot at some broadcasting opportunities and sell a TV book the radio station was producing. Ahead of their time with that idea, right?

While there, I dropped by the newspaper office. Great samples I was able to show the managing editor, Tom Murphy. College class papers, some fiction (fake news?) and some mostly lame articles for the college newspaper.

If you’re not a fan, you know who or what to blame for my being here at the IJ for 22 years now. I never looked back, although on occasion I do wonder how my life and bank account would have turned out had I entered the funeral services business. That’s what I initially thought I’d do when in high school. OK, you can laugh now. Again.

It’s been a good long run, and I’m proud — not boastful — of the career and the difference I think and hope my efforts have made in people’s lives in the various communities where I’ve worked. I’m also appreciative of the many people who have expressed as much.

As it winds down, I say “Happy National Newspaper Week” to Chris Trainor and all my fellow journalists, past and present. Mae West did not warn us that it would be a bumpy ride, but in the end — and even still — it’s been a good one.

Whiting is executive editor of the Index-Journal. Contact him at 864-943-2522; email, or follow him on Twitter @IJEDITOR. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.