Journalism is the boyfriend in a bad relationship. It sucks the life out of you, makes you miserable, broke, exhausted, wreaks havoc on your social life, yet you always come back for more because when it’s good, it’s freakin’ A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!! I can honestly say in 14 years of doing this (both for a small community daily and metropolitan daily and web), I’ve never had a day where I didn’t want to go to work.
Don’t get me wrong — there were some days I dreaded what with dealing with editors who fail to communicate with each other or the phone calls coming with a controversial story — but those things are minor compared to the hell of being chained to a desk. I love what I do, but lately, it’s a relationship on the rocks. I still enjoy writing, but the new has worn off, it’s not fresh or exciting — same graduation, different class… same homicide, different body… same city council, different players… same festival, different holiday… you get the idea.
I’ve been back at my hometown paper for about six months. I realize I have no true friends — only people who are nice because they think they need to be in order to get their child, business, event, party, campaign announcement, arrest, birthday, obituary, wedding announcement, blah, blah, blah in the paper.
I sat in our one of three restaurants that serve booze last night, enjoying a Jack Daniels as I worked on a few blog posts. I knew 80 percent of the people who walked in — not a one walked over to my table to speak. I guess no one had a new baby to announce.
I realized tonight just how jaded I’ve become as I sat next to a coach’s wife on the back row of a church pew at graduation. (Yes, in the south it is common practice to hold high school graduations at Baptist churches.)
She said I didn’t look happy to be there. I turned to her and said, “It’s the same old. Three or four will go on to finish college and become successful with careers and families. The rest will go to LSU, party their asses off, flunk out, come back and go to community college, marry their prom dates, get pregnant (if not already), move into a doublewide behind her momma’s and get a coon dog to ride on the back of the four-wheeler.”
She fell out laughing — it’s funny because it’s true. We’ve both seen it too many times.
I know it’s true because I’m that statistic, maybe not quite to that extent, but I did not follow the path of least resistance. It has been the gift of gab and not an educational pedigree that has gotten me this far in my career. But it’s not going to get me any farther, so back to school I go where I’ll be taking bets on who flunks out first from the Class of 2014.