Monday, May 09, 2011

Clearer Than They Appear

Sheeka Squared
Wanna confuse a TV news photog? Ask him (or her) what he (or she) shot two days ago. Chances are neither of them will know. And it's not because we didn't pay attention. In fact, it's that ability to forget that enables us to hone in on the immediate - even when 'the immediate' is an elementary school principal reading her talking points from giant cue cards she had her underlings tape to a wall. Really, that very scenario happened just last week to Charles Ewing and I. Pros that we are, we let her continue, knowing none of it would ever make air. Why we were even there to begin with, I couldn't begin to tell you. But I could pen a paragraph or two about the red blotches creeping above her collar, the daylight spilling through those classroom slats or the sound of her off-camera assistants quietly rolling their eyes. I guess that makes me detail-oriented. That, or I've peered through stacked glass long enough to truly develop tunnel vision. All I know is that I have total recall of soundbites from a decade back, but couldn't tell you all that I covered last week without consulting my calendar.

Scratch that. I've consulted my calendar and the only thing I can make out are a few broken lyrics to Peace Frog and what I wanted on my last steak and cheese sandwich. Guess I'm not just detail-oriented: I'M A PHOTOG! That would explain my heightened sense of inattention, those extra points hanging off my driver's license and all that bold logo-wear stashed in the back of my closet. Yes, twenty years of street-level lensmanship has left me more addled than most TV techs. I'm convinced it's because of all that minutia I've shoved through my right eye socket, all those uncut deadlines I've snorted off the dashboard of a poorly-parked live truck. Throw in a daily diet of lunch specials and you got a pretty good idea why I haven't given up news to take on some far-flung super-computer in a global chess match. That and I look really bad in turtlenecks.

Come to think of it, there's really only one upside to my photog state of mind: I can speak to anything. Well, not intelligently - but reel off a half dozen unrelated topics and I can cough up something tangential about them. The airworthiness of modern day dirigibles? I once rode in the Goodyear Blimp and lived to embellish the tale! Can perverts be rehabilitated? Dunno, but I once toured a sex offenders unit where a whole lot of folks were pretending they already were. Do locally-elected city officials have your best interests at heart? Errrr, NO. I have sat through enough council meetings to know those people are drunk with power and hopped up on their own wardrobe. You'd be better off voting in a bunch of TV news photogs who would quickly institute a just, no-nonsense form of local government - provided someone could pipe up and remind 'em what it was they decided at the last meeting.

We're lousy at that kind of thing...

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