You'd think that, with the legendary reputation of the one and only Tommy Craggs, the man whose career output is basically 13,048 unique and erudite ways to tell his peers in the sports writing world "Fuck you," the man who literally ruined a great job opportunity by farting on an ant in the employ of his impending employers, the man whom I recently overheard gleefully squeeling into the phone "No, you don't get it, I live to shoot my dick off like this"—you'd think this man would have a bit of a presence to himself, an intimidating aura that exuded his genius and fearlessness and willingness to charge into no man's land guns blazing, support be damned. Well, you'd be wrong. Very wrong.
Craggs is a nebbish little guy, not little in terms of stature (he beats me by a couple inches and more than a few pounds, most of which flesh out his ample and soft chest area) but little in the sense of imposingness. Even when he's yelling at you during some inane argument at 1:32AM in a cramped little restaurant-turned-Gawker Media-bar, his chin is always canted down about thirty degrees. Sure, he's looking you in the eyes, his voice is loud, but you never feel any real threat. It's the vocal tone that reaches Mariah Carey-esque octaves, the arched eyebrows that evince more concern than rage. You can't decide if you want to poke him some more just to see how much you can rile up the little fella or if you just want to burst out laughing.
Real life isn't the only way Tommy Craggs disappoints The Idea of Tommy Craggs. His editing is similarly much-discussed though rarely seen. It's true, I guess, that when he takes your post and gets it back to you sometime in the next 24-48 hours, it is much improved. But it's not because he edited it, he just rewrote the damn thing, making you wonder why he asked you to do it in the first place.
Maybe I'm not the right person to be lifting the shroud on the man behind the myth. While ecstatic at the prospect of working for my writing hero, the one person whose every written word had me either like Yes. That's it exactly or, if it differed from my point of view, Well, he's obviously right, I'll have to come around to his position eventually, I soon realized after getting here that I didn't really work for him. He was just the guy at the end of the row of tables, hoodie up, mumbling something or other to a real Deadspin staffer or occasionally knocking over a stack of books from his labyrinthine desk when he'd argue with John Cook about Gawker reposting a Deadspin story.
He's only "edited" three of four things I've ever written (probably for the best, for as little as he actually knows about sports in general, he knows less about the footy) in my year-and-change here. (Which one time included adding the word "declensionist," a word I scarcely believed to exist, let alone understood what it meant.) His only advice or constructive criticism or guidance for me, someone he hired with absolutely zero blogging or journalistic experience, was "You're doing fine, just do more of it," while never really assuring me that he had any idea of what I had been doing in the first place. And now that he's taken that big corner office with the view, probably solidifying himself as yet another example of the Peter Principle he's so fond of espousing, he'll now exist to me even less than he did before.
Maybe that's for the best, though. The Tommy Craggs of my mind was much cooler and productive than the one I've (barely) come to know. Maybe after he gets fired in a year and has to go back to writing somewhere far away from the Gawker offices, I'll again be able to believe in the man I wrongly thought he was.