Ever open the wrong door at work and find a couple of your buddies jabbing lenses at a comely young model? Ever tuned in to a college basketball tournament, only to catch a glimpse of a friend on his knees? Ever watched Air Force One land on the local news and wondered how long the Secret Service made your pals on the risers pick their teeth? If you said yes, then you Sir or Ma'am are a photog ('FOH-tog') and I regret to inform you, there is no cure. Sure you can unhand that fancycam, slink away and go sell shoes, but the long term effects of street level lenslinging will haunt you 'til your dying day.
Or maybe it's just me. When I left The Life back in 1994, I thought I'd be happy cranking out promos. I was wrong. The very first time a hurricane blew up, my old running buddies raced for the coast while I stayed behind in a nice, dry TV station. I nearly unzipped my skin. Turns out I was a news guy, not some studio hack with an aversion to sunlight. So I reluctantly plunged back into the world of press releases, live shots and urgent voices on bedside telephones. Yes, I came back of my own free will - even though I knew all too well the discomfort that awaited me. A dozen or so years have passed since then and most days I don't regret it. Most days...
Naaah, who am I kidding? This job still pretty much rocks, if only because it's spared me the disappointment of scheduling extended time off only to find my golfing buddies were diddling their assistants instead. As it stands, my friends still haunt the same old places: interstate oil spills, coliseum corridors, police department parking lots. It's there we meet on a moment's notice, masts rising, thousand yard stares intact. We may act like we're bored out of our skulls, but truthbeknown, we're still pretty stoked to be there. How else do you explain why so many energetic MacGyver types choose to spend their lives schlepping Sonys that aren't even their ownies?
I'll tell you why: this silly gig offers a lifestyle not found in fine department stores. Yeah, there's that whole long hours - short pay - I'm never gonna have a holiday off again my entire life thing, but once you get your head around it, things really ain't that bad. I for one still enjoy the thrill of making slot, the unfettered access to other people's lives, the fact that nine times out of ten I can park like a paramedic and totally get away with it. As for all that bile I spew here about what a thankless role it can all be, well that's as heartfelt as any Made for TV movie you'll see. Do I love my job? Do I detest it? Do I deride, treasure and defend it for the very same reasons? Yes, yes I do. So, the next time you think ole 'slinger has flipped his lens, is inching closer and closer to the tower out back with a scary look in his eyes, know that eight times out of ten, I'm just blowin' smoke.
It's when I don't blog you should worry.