First of all, no junkyard kittens were harmed in the making of this photo. But this idle shot of Jeff Varner holding an over affectionate feline at bay while convincing a reluctant interview subject to come play television illustrates the less-than-glamorous conditions of your average news-day. Broadcasting aspirants should take note: For every expertly-lit live shot from trouble’s edge, there are hours of choking on generator fumes. For every far flung and exotic backdrop, there is a seemingly endless, ass-numbing road-trip. For every workaday story on ruptured sewer line, there a half session of roadside negotiations. The news doesn’t always make air willingly. Often It has to be cajoled to the door, sold on the notion of appearing on-screen and quizzed unequivocally once under the scope. Thus, the daily deadline chase can sometimes feel like a re-purposed rerun of a old detective show. Just substitute all those taciturn lawmen in salt and pepper crew cuts with badly-dressed cameras geeks and their far more telegenic front-men.
Which is how you find yourself outside a rural mechanic’s shade-tree garage, overdressed and under deadline, while a furry local sniffs at your heels to smell where ya been. In this particular case, Jeff picked up the varmint in question and began dispensing love through a series of chin-rubs and baby talk . When the cell phone rang, all that heavy petting gave way to juggling and I fired off a few shots without anyone getting hurt. Five minutes later we were back on the road, but not before spending 120 or so seconds convincing the cat to move out of the path of my reversing news unit. The kitty moved but not before shooting the news duo a most bored series of unimpressed expressions. WE may consider ourselves a crack crew of digital interlopers, but to this heavily-whiskered salvage yard veteran, we were just the latest two rubes in a long parade of easy marks. Had that cat been a panhandler, we would have left a few bucks shy of our daily lunch budget. Instead we egressed with little more than black hair all over us, glad to have met another scavenger along the way.