Monday, January 23, 2012

Legends of the Maw

Busse in Action

Bonfires, lock-downs, cockfights ... you never know where you'll run into (or over) a colleague.  And since it's chaos we seek, we never let it stop us from catching up. Just ask David R. Busse, a Senior Fellow with the Lenslinger Institute. Busse has seen it all, all right, but he hasn't done so alone. And when he spots a colleague across the maw, he doesn't let said bedlam interrupt his visit. Such was the case the other day, when protesters stormed the campus of the University of California-Riverside...
"Your correspondent, now 55 and proud of the fact that he recently shed knee braces and takes ibuprofen only on really busy days, jumped in the fray and moved up the stairs with the mob, certainly the only person on this campus at the moment wearing a Cabela’s baseball cap. As crowd turned the corner near the top landing, they were met by a brace of helmeted University police in full riot gear. The upward mobility of the group quickly stopped.

In younger days, your correspondent would have pushed his way to the 18-inches or so of tense air that separated youths from hickory batons. About the time he began to ponder that move, and among drum-beating, chanting and loud discussion of the moment, there was a tap on the shoulder, and someone muttering “Hey, Busse…” (pronounced bus-eee in case you were wondering).

It was the familiar voice of Kurt Miller, veteran news photographer of the Riverside Press-Enterprise newspaper, and a person with whom this correspondent had covered fire, flood and, now, insurrection, for more than three decades.

The chanting continued, but among the shoving, jostling and drumming, two veterans managed to catch up on the goings-on among respective places of employment, family stuff, retirement plans and other such weighty matters…cocktail party conversation among the jetsam and flotsam...

Ten minutes later, the protesters retreated, cops held their ground and peace returned to that side of the building. Your correspondent began to think of deadlines and image ingestion issues. A packed lunch also awaited in the back seat of Minicam Unit 51 and somewhere in that lunch bag were a couple of ibuprofen tablets."
With friends like that, who needs painkillers?

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