Wednesday, July 31, 2002

Reporter's Tourette's Syndrome

Every reporter I have ever known cusses like Crazy Tracy with PMS, and a rock in her shoe, on a hot day.
It's because we have to toe the line when we write and it causes pent up pressure.
I worked with this young reporter who looked like a Mormon girl, fresh from doing genealogy research at the Norman Mailer Tabernacle library.
She was called Bridget.
Once she was sent to cover a volunteer fireman's picnic, where somebody's hot catalytic converter started a grass fire and fried about 12 volunteers' cars and trucks.
She came back to the newsroom and we gathered around her after she filed her story, all of us chuckling at the irony of these rural firemen's vehicles catching fire.
"How was it, Bridget?" I asked.
"Man, it was great! They had chicken and brisket and ribs and potato salad and the works." (Reporters are notorious food scroungers)
"Yeah, pretty good food?" I asked.
"Hell, yeah. Those firemen are some partying-down motherfuckers," she replied.
"Is that how you referred to them in your story?"
Bridget smiled and said, " No, I called them hearty picnickers."

In the newsroom, if we had to pee, we had to totally log off our computers, lest a colleague would fuck with our stories.
Once I was filing a weather story and dashed off to pee without logging off.
I came back to read, "Meteorologist John Haskins said there was a chance in South Texas on Saturday for hail the size of canned hams."
Another reporter ran off to pee and I changed his religion column to read, "Archbishop Patrick Flores said, 'Things would go a lot better around here if we just got horny little boys assigned to us to begin with.'"

The best part was when the hapless reporter didn't notice the switch, but the city desk editor did. "What in the fucking shit is this piece of libelous horse crap, you pea-brained son of a bitch?"

I miss those days.

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