Thursday, June 02, 2005

Hurtling Towards Burn-Out

Maybe it’s the relentless pace as of late, or the wicked summer cold my youngest gave me yesterday, or perhaps it’s the fact that I got some vacation looming in the near distance. Whatever the reason, your friendly neighborhood lenslinger is hurtling toward terminal burnout. Sadly, it’s a career stage I’m all too familiar with. Despite my ongoing attempts at maintaining a sunny disposition, my crusty photog shell solidifies about every nine months or so. When it does, I lose what little patience I have for the puffed-up import of the fruitless pursuit. Tiny details I contend with every day fire up my synapses and send me into an O.J.-like fury. No, I don’t chop people’s heads-off and then practice my golf swing. I just moan and grumble like the verbose curmudgeon I’ve reluctantly come to be. I try not to let it affect my work. Years behind the glass have taught me how to whine like a shrew while still producing top-shelf local television, thank you very much. (It’s not like I’m launching space shuttles for a living or anything.)

Still, my job is important to me - as is my hard-earned reputation as a low-maintenance, high-output employee. Besides, my business is littered with the hollowed-out corpses of once vibrant photogs. Chalk it up to the thankless nature of our work: long hours, lousy conditions, ever-demanding deadline cycles - all of which wears on the average lens-man (or woman) after enough time in the saddle. I’m not asking for pity. I signed up for this gig long ago, with full knowledge of what it is and what it ain’t. Now, fifteen years and three newsrooms later, I’m fully infected with incurable journalism. While I’d someday like to change the format from the moving image to the written word, I realize I am an insatiable communicator. This very blog is evidence of that. Just, please - understand the nature of my exhortations - for I am far from an unsatisfied soul, but a battle-weary warrior overdue for a little stateside R and R. Luckily I have that very thing planned - a yearly retreat to an undisclosed beach, where press conferences, murder scenes and live shots wash away with the incoming tide.

So if you run across my shell-shocked visage in the coming days, do not be alarmed. The bearded, frazzled expression, the inexplicable mangling of ten dollar words, the wrinkled yet festive tropical shirt - they’re all just signs that Stewie needs a break from the madness, a temporary reprieve from the desperate foot chase that is your average day behind the newscast. It’s nothing a week of body-surfing, freshly burned Delta Blues and the occasional tumbler of Maker’s Mark won’t cure. From my days as a uniformed sailor, I harbor a great love for the sea. Just being in its presence restores my soul. Before you know it I’ll be back on the job, cranking out TV news at it’s early-evening finest, complaining about how God-Awful-Hot Summertime in the Carolinas is - all while finding a way to blog about it in the process. But until then, BACK OFF! This camera is loaded, the disc is empty and the battery springtime fresh. So help me, I’ll use it...


Anonymous said...

May I recomend one dose of not having to work with....well nevermind.

Weaver said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Weaver said...

Oops on the delete.

I resemble that remark.

Colonel Corn's Camera said...

Dude, who took that picture of you? You look like a lot of guys I catch with my lens who don't want to be on TV. That shot says volumes about burn-out.

Cheer up my friend, you have a support group behind you. Just think, you could be sitting in a cubical trying to sell someone a long distance plan over the phone.
At least we get to stand out in the rain when we are feeling down.

The Colonel

Billy Jones said...

Dude, I know exactly how you feel. I finally found something I love and I just can't figure out how to do it and still eat.