Editors Note:


EDITOR'S NOTE: Fresh off a three year managerial stint, your friendly neighborhood lenslinger is back on the street and under heavy deadline. As the numbing effects of his self-imposed containment wear off, vexing reflections and pithy epistles are sure to follow...

Monday, July 09, 2007

Cats, Rats, Spats and Chats

In the taxonomy of TV News, there are house cats and there are tunnel rats. I'm proud to be of the latter species, though the feline set does smell better at the end of the day. Why wouldn't they? They haven't been clinging to a ditchbank listening to paramedics gossip, they haven't dodged the ire (and saliva) of shackled crackheads at dawn, they haven't wrestled a dying live truck to the side of the interstate at 70 miles per hour. I've done all three and while it may render me pungent by sunset, it also makes me a whole lot cooler than those goobs back in the newsroom. I'll tell 'em that to their face too ... just as soon as Oprah throws it to a break and I have two and a half minutes of their undivided attention.

But hey, I didn't log in to denigrate the soft and the weak. I can do that at work! No, I just toggled through the accounts of a few Flickr friends and came away inspired by their strangely familiar frames. Take this shot, for example. I call it 'Live Truck at Night'. While not too sure from where it hails, I dare say I can predict where it's going.. the structure fire, the Attorney General's office, that amorphous black hole of an abandoned crime scene we call important... no one said the voyages of the Live Truck Enterprise had to make much sense; they just had to make slot. That's TV talk for deadlines and while we exert great energy damning them all to hell, we'll downshift and punch it in the breakdown lane of life just to avoid missing one. Crazy, I know....

...but that's how it goes when you're a broadcast packmule, a TV stevedore, a caddy to the overly coiffed and understudied. Most times you're invisible to the civilian world, reduced to background by an audience that sees you as little more than a logo'd and roving tripod of sorts. That's cool by most lenslingers - as only fools heave the glass for money or fame. Instead, we do it for the view: a flickering vignette that hits at the top of the hour and usually involves pretty people and the smoldering remains of someone else's dream. If that seems too melodramatic, then you've never watched an old woman in a housecoat pick through the soggy hellscape of what used to be her living room. Do that enough times and you won't even flinch when she asks you what time your coverage will be on - despite the fact her TV set is now made of charcoal.

Still, it ain't the unfettered access that keeps me loading up and heading out. Rather it's the paycheck I've foolishly come to depend on. While there are easier ways to make a buck, few offer the benefits of a life spent on the fringes. For there is where I feel at home, whether it's on the sidelines of a scheduled game or by the chalklines of fresh victimhood, the small talk is often the same. Scuttle butt, dark wages and gallows humor for all. It may not be the kind of small talk fodder I'd recommend to my kids, but as conversation it is unparalleled, the kind not found in your average cul-de-sac. So, excuse me if I seem a little distracted in the newsroom, as it's not my natural environment. I'm much more at ease out on-scene, where the only pre-requisite is a lack of invitation and the belief that you belong there. See ya at the rodeo...

2 comments:

MPACT JOBFAIR said...

Edgar Allan Poe would have probably given up his best Absinthe for your writing ability. Yet he would not be able to fathom, television journalism while he was penning the Raven, but if he ever had been blessed with the opportunity to read the captions on the lenslinger blogs, he would as the rest of us are be impressed with your abilities to click on the keystrokes that paint vivid blogospheric images clearer than HD.

You really need to send your RSS Feeds to some publisher who can finance your blogging from more than a ventilation shaft and into a serious revenue stream.

Carolyn said...

HEY. I've been spit on too!