One Hell of a Sign-Off

Has anyone ever done this better than Melinda Henneberger does it?

True to form, I was too busy to go to the meeting and missed my own firing yesterday; don't you hate it when that happens? (All my life, my mom has been saying I'd be late to my own funeral, so could we please not tell her she was right?) There were a few other mix-ups, too, with the result that some AOL employees were invited to the Meeting of Death by accident, while others who were supposed to have been on the layoff list were walking around like Bruce Willis in the Sixth Sense. Also in error, I mistakenly received some last-minute communications re: the best time to tell an AOL News editor who had cancer surgery yesterday that he needn't hurry back.

My termination became even more anti-climactic after my plane almost crashed at Reagan last night; we got caught in a wind shear and just as we were about to slam into the tarmac, the pilot pulled up violently and we went from horizontal to vertical in a second; I haven't been that scared since, in a mad rush to get home to my family one Friday night in 2000, I jumped into a four-seater with a pilot shouting, "Come on, I think we can beat it" as a storm moved toward Cape Cod. The storm won that one, though when they finally reopened Logan an hour later, the pilot did commend me for having remained so silent as we were being thrown around; even in extremis, one rarely screams the Hail Mary.

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.


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