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This just in: dog pee creates job satisfaction!

2003-10-07 - 12:04 p.m.


I have recently been asked to speak to the journalism class at my local community college, even though I have not worked in journalism for almost two years now. I said I�d do it, of course: I�m perfectly happy to get the credit for being a hardworking journalist even though I�m now working a cake advertising job with banker�s hours.

This is the fourth or fifth time now I will have visited the class. The teacher says that even though I�m no longer a reporter, his students can still learn from what I do now, as an advertising person. But I�m afraid he only asks because he knows I will happily teach his class for him anytime he wants. After all, I see it as good practice: I�m hoping to be a community college teacher someday, maybe. (I always shoot for the highest stars.) Plus, speaking to the class gets me out of my cubicle for at least an hour.

When I visit the class, I try to be witty and interesting and tell funny stories about things that can happen on the job�like how a dog peed on my leg when I was out on my first assignment.

But usually the class sits in uninterested silence, until someone at the end will raise his hand and say, �Yeah, I wanna know how come the paper tells lies? �Cuz once, my name was in the DUI part, and that was a bunch of bull crap, because the charges got dropped after I was arrested. They couldn�t prove nothin�.�

If that happens again this year, it will be a much-needed reminder of why I left my former job in the first place.

Lately, I have been feeling a strange sort of nostalgia for the kind of work I used to do�dog pee and all. (It�s easy to be nostalgic about it now that I have had almost two years away from the horrible hours, the horrible board meetings I had to cover, the horrible higher-ups who threw things and rewrote things and edited mistakes into things, the horrible comments from readers who were mad at the paper for a spelling mistake in a family obituary more than 20 years ago.)

The thing that�s been disturbing me is that in my current job, I have been sitting in a cubicle enjoying the relaxing hours for almost two years�-but if you asked me to tell a story about any memorable experience I�ve had, I�d be as blank as those people in the community college class. By contrast, I can remember something from nearly every day on the job as a reporter. I mean, when you get pissed on by a dog, at least you�ve got something to say.


(This, ripped off from a recent entry of Mimi Smartypants�)


These are people I once encountered/interviewed during my brief tenure as a daily newspaper reporter:

1. Chris Burke, a.k.a. �Corky� from TV�s �Life Goes On.� Our half-hour telephone interview was the highlight of my journalistic career.

2. The bass player from Lit, that destined-to-become-a-one-hit-wonder band known for �My Own Worst Enemy.� (�Please tell me why-ee-eye-ee-eye, my car is in the front yard� I�m sleepin� with my clothes on��) I was interviewing him for a story for the entertainment page of a tiny newspaper in the college town where the band had come to play, but I acted like I was interviewing Nixon about Watergate.

Me: �So, let�s talk about the lyrics of �My Own Worst Enemy.� It seems that with such pro-drunkenness lyrics, you might cause an uproar with conservatives who are worried that you�re telling their teens that drunkenness and debauchery are cool. Have you received any flak over that?�

Him: �Aw, no, man. We�ve just received a wonderful response to it. Really positive. Everyone just totally loves our song, and, you know, people have been so wonderful in their responses to it, and we just really like to put that good groove out there for the people so they can have a good time.� I think he�s from California� maybe he should be in that gubernatorial race? (Anyone would be better than that ass-cheek-and-boob-grabbing pervert, don�t you think?)

3. David Hartman, who used to be a co-host of �Good Morning America.� Since I was raised in a �Today� home and not a �GMA� home, I had no clue who he was. But I acted appropriately suck-uppy when I got to the assignment. (Sorry, buddy, I was faking.)

4. The guy who is probably getting rich off this concept, and who sent me a complimentary copy of �We Interrupt This Broadcast,� the inaugural piece of the Buttloads of Free Stuff Collection I would acquire over a three-year period. (The buttload including a decorative plate of the Great Wall of China; a hardback children�s book about Abraham Lincoln--real suspenseful, let me tell ya--and free CD�s by Marcy Playground and someone named K Starr. The list of strange and random booty goes on and on.

5. John McCain, who I didn�t really like at the time, but who I like now because of his �SNL� appearances. You know, hardcore journalist that I am (was).



Did you know that such inventions exist? I only learned of them yesterday, when I discovered that The Institution spends money on these things for our office. How could I not have known of them before? And, more importantly, if a white noise machine is humming in an office and no one is there to hear it, does it really make a sound??


Look at the website I accidentally ended up at when I tried to guess at the website address for Rolling Stone.


(Do they really make those kinds of noises? Probably not. Maybe I should read the website).


that was then - this is now

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