Perry had been dating a girl in those days. Movies, visits to the park, that sort of thing; he was young, eager and stupid, and she was young and perhaps willing to pretend she was everything else.
Then a train derailed -this was before Superman, when tragedies were smaller and old-fashioned- and she was taken to the hospital. Perry had work to do, he had just been promoted to city reporter, but his boss had puffed his cigar, not really looking at him, and said "A good man would be by her side."
Perry went. He stayed at the hospital a day and a half, until she got out of danger.
When Perry went back to the Daily Planet he had been demoted back to piece corrector. "A good reporter would have written the story," said his boss, still not quite looking at him.
He is not sure Kent understands. Otherwise he wouldn't have fought so much to be and remain a reporter. Good men -and no matter everything else he is, Kent is a good man- can't be good reporters. Heroes shouldn't even try.
Kent does, and no matter how many times Perry admonishes or fires him, he keeps being just good enough to remain there - and there is almost the top, almost the reporter Kent could be if he weren't so much else.
And Kent keeps trying. Perry doesn't think he'll ever arrive. He has been taught by word, example and a lifetime of reporting and leading reporters, that you can't be both a hero and a good reporter. It just can't be done.
But then, he *is* Superman. He has done almost stranger things.