...I learned with one eye shut. Seriously, I paid ZERO attention in high school and even less afterwards. In fact, it wasn't until I first fixated on that tiny screen at the end of the eyepiece that a few truths came into focus. Important stuff, too, like...
It's not enough for surgeons to save lives, they got to be the coolest guys in the (operating) room. Honestly, I've sat through enough procedures to spot extreme douche-baggery with or without a sterile mask. Theme music, frigid temperatures, dried ice: it's amazing the props some surgeons need to cut a fellow open. And talk about playing to the camera. I know reality show cast-offs with less of a lens fixation. I had one doctor get so excited at the presence of my glass, I thought he was gonna pantomime 'Sister Christian'. So the next time a nice hospital lady ask if the local TV station can videotape your bunion-ectomy, do yourself a favor and hobble away to the other end of the lobby.
The kind of people who get excited about meeting local news personalities aren't the kind of people you want to see get excited. I learned this early on when I myself regularly appeared on newscasts. A pair of female voices SCREECHED my name at a weekend festival once. Slowly I turned to meet my biggest fans and came face to face (to face) with a mother-daughter team who looked as if they wanted to drag me back to the double-wide, disembowel me and can my remains in vinegar until at least Spring. I was frozen with fear that day and I've run interference for many a female reporter ever since.
If your first three story ideas fall apart upon impact, you are doomed to a day of fruitless phone tag. I don't care how many gold statues you bought and paid for, some days shit just doesn't come together. And there you sit, workin' the horn for all its worth while news managers bang into your cubicle like angry sharks. Of course that's the exact moment a press release touting incredible news lands in your in-box. You rejoice, flip off your least favorite producer, do an awkward victory dance and call the number on the press release - only to find out the PR flack just left for back surgery but will happy to help you once he's finally cut free from his body-cast.
The smaller the constituency, the grander the delusion. Let's face it, the guy within reach of the nuclear football is really quite reasonable. It's that dude on the local school board you gotta watch out for. Chances are, he's nuttier than a barrel of squirrel turds. At least that's MY finding after witnessing some of the nimrods who hold a gavel over our fine communities. Hey, you don't HAVE to be nuts to serve in city or county government, but it will sure will help when you and your esteemed colleagues are holding an entire town hostage over the color width of this year's parking tickets. Me, I'll be sitting by the door, one hand on my camera, the other cradling a can of mace. Don't think I won't use both of them.
No matter how many times you tell the desk that A) unicorns don't live under that overpass, B) there's no way a steaming pile of egg noodles can resemble Kurt Cobain, or C) you don't even remember HOW to square dance, understand this: All you really have to do is get in the news unit and GO. I'm not saying minotaurs will be waiting there to guide you through some house-cats fantasy, only that if chain-smoking gremlins are in fact taking over the city sewer system, they'll most likely come out and talk once they see you circle the block a few times...
Tell 'em Lenslinger sent you.