Friday, August 26, 2005

Weary from Battle

What a work-week! 54 hours on the clock, 4 small plane lift-offs, 4 small plane touchdowns (whew!), five reporters, four live shots, three meetings, two airport alerts, one burning eighteen wheeler, countless hours in the edit bay and a few blog posts in between. Needless to say, I’m tapped. On the bright side, I’ve found sleep deprivation supplies the same kind of buzz some people loiter on street corners to obtain.

Brutal as it felt, it’s a pretty typical series of shifts for a general assignment TV news photographer. I usually work alone, turning stories that end newscasts rather than start them. Lately though, I’ve been drafted to the front lines, assigned a foxhole buddy and made to dig while an endless barrage of daily deadlines rain down from above. I’ll survive alright, but forgive me if I’m a little shell-shocked as of late.

Strangely, the nights are the worst. Haunting images of an older, fatter, balder me chasing year after year of meaningless intrigue jar me awake in a cold sweat. Lying there in the cool darkness, I stare into the abyss and review my work-life: so many slots filled, wild gooses chased, press conferences met with indifference. For what? A weekly stipend, a sore back and a mountain of logo-wear...

But it’s given me more, and I know it. For all the wear and tear the past decade and a half have wrought, those same fifteen years have fed my family, stirred my soul and ignited my imagination. I always knew I would write about my life; I just didn’t know it would be the jaundiced tale of a weary lenslinger. I suppose I could switch careers, but then what would I fill up the page with? Reflections of an Amway Salesman?

No way. I’m a news guy through and through, one who looks at life through a viewfinder and rarely understands everything he sees. As grateful as I am to wield that lens, I’m awful tired of pointing it at the lowest common denominator. What I would give for a chance at advancement, an opportunity to do more than nail the shot, make the deadline and man the live truck...

Maybe I’ll sell Mary Kay.

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