I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it to you or not, but I’m toying with the idea of enlightenment. Not the spiritual bliss I‘m told exists, but that earthier sense of well being that’s eluded me all these many moons. But before you brush past my flower stand at the airport, hear me out:
In late 1989 I faked my way into a tiny CBS affiliate, lied that I was qualified and scored a low paying job. Soon though I was piloting my very own news-craft across the tri-county universe, swinging by scenes of controversy and pocketing adventures by the pound. Heady stuff for a humble bumpkin. Now however, I find myself one tired disciple, a thicker, balder, surlier Stew, who’s not nearly as enamored with the daily chase as he was when MC Hammer still had some cash in those baggy-ass pants. If I’m dating myself, well - someone has to. All I know is that in less twenty years I went from whippersnapper status to something of a village elder. No longer a wide-eyed ingénue, I come before you a hard-boiled auteur of soft news; a bellicose broker of feel-good fare. Sure, it’s too much too fit one a business card, but since when do we get to custom-order our daily fates?
Don’t answer if you know. Just take comfort in the fact that I’m learning to deal with my case of arrested development. In fact, I’ve stopped scratching the station’s call letters in the fleshy part of my palm every time the cell phone rings. Sure I still call the Hobby Store several times a week to see if the parts for my voodoo doll collection came in yet, but in the past couple of years I haven’t chained myself to a single live truck. That’s progress, people! Was a time the ‘utter futility of a life of spent slathering newscasts’ was a thesis I shared with every blown-dry hump unfortunate enough to draw my dance card. Sorry, folks! I was just cycling through the Seven stages of disillusionment we discussed in an earlier post. These days I’m well past the Acceptance phase, but I do find myself scanning the heavens at late day live shots, looking for answers in the horizon as my partner for the day lectures the lens. No wonder I miss all those cues…
Hmm? Yeah. Where was I? Oh yeah - on the cusp of epiphany! I hope anyway. Truth is, I’m racing toward my 42nd year, a seminal number for any Douglas Adams fan. According to the book I only need a brown towel, but it sure would be nice to slip into something … existential. Now I’m not requesting total Zen and a lobotomy is still out of my price range, but would a little felicity be too much too ask? Look, I’m even willing to fake it. In fact, I suspect most of the contented souls I tend to admire are doing just that; sleepwalking through their days with the simple opinion that everything’s as it should be. I know I’ll never get there, never walk the Earth with sand slipping from my fists, never deliver a soliloquy from atop some mount, never buy identical track suits and hole in some basement with all zombie friends and a fresh batch of Kool-Aid. So if you see me out in the field somewhere, gaping into the maw as satellite dishes twist behind me, try not to stare: I’m simply attempting serenity.
That or the live truck’s mast is stuck in the up position and I’m about to start throwing camera batteries at it. Heads UP!