You know that wonderfully awful movie Highlander - where immortal swordsmen drop everything to engage one another in highly choreographed battle? Shooting news is nothing like that. Still, there is a certain medieval kinship among TV photogs - especially those of us who see a lot of each other. Take this morning, when I once again crossed metal with Eric Bishop. You’ve met Eric before, loitering at train wrecks, stalking the freshly shackled, running like hell from a psycho truck. Yes, for the better part of eleven years I’ve looked up from one unlikely scenario or another and seen the man known as “Eeeeb” hove into view. Which is why it didn't surprise me one iota to see him tumbling down the same hillside this morning, wishing (like me) he'd pursued that degree in molecular engineering, instead of earning his Masters in Shoot and Move. But I'm getting ahead of myself - which is dangerous, since I don't know where I'm going...
The morning began leisurely enough, with a languid drive into the very heart of nowhere - otherwise known as outer Stokesdale. It was there that a lovely woman from far off Santa Barbara, CA was doing my home state a a real solid, by donating 140-some acres of pristine woodland to the Piedmont Land Conservancy. A staunch environmentalist herself, she almost swallowed her tongue when she saw the F(ox)-Word on my fancycam. I tried to assuage her concerns and she did eventually talk to me - but not before I chased a couple dozen school kids deep into the acreage at hand. Hmm? I didn't mention the jacked-up bunch of Montessori students shipped in to serve as warm props? Hey, no fleeting blurb about nature conservation is complete without a horde of fourth graders trampling the undergrowth, right? Throw in the fact that it's Take a Child Outdoors month and you've got some serious synergy scampering down that twisty path. Hey kids - WAIT UP!
Fat chance. By the time I fell in behind them, the pack of ten year olds were acting like, well - ten year olds. Though there was no pot of gold awaiting them in that babbling brook at the bottom of the hill, the kids took to the trail with the kind of abandon that would make a leprechaun choke on his Newport. Being something of a child myself, I needlessly matched their pace; my camera jostling on my shoulder as I tried in vain to slow my controlled fall. That's when I saw Eric, his feet planted just off the path, face buried in eyecup. Rocketing past him, I was already too exhausted to hold a steady shot. Unfazed by the papparazzi, the kids flowed past us, including one boy who took a tumble that would have crippled most stuntmen. I was searching for the boy's remains when I once again ran across Eric (who I could have sworn was behind me). I was trying to decide which tree to upchuck on when a chaperone caught a glimpse of the two competing cameramen gasping for their collective breath. "Ya'll seem friendly!", he said, turning to me. " You know this guy?"
Eric rolled his eyes as I answered the man. "We run into each other."