Damn it

I’m not sure if there are many jobs like mine. More to the point, I’m not sure if there are many bosses like mine.

Just as my dancing synapses have pulled the spark plugs on my desire to play this game anymore, my boss goes and tells a war story.

I guess every business has them…the tales of the one day you went out and something happened that you’ll tell and tell again.

I wish you could meet my boss. Mix Peter Graves with a basically-sane General Patton and that’s the guy that gave me my first honest shot at working in the news business.

He just told me a series of stories based around a 1964 KKK trial in Athens, GA. He covered it for UPI. He remembered the victim’s name…a colonel from up north, caught by a quartet of night riders from 1960’s Georgia. The Georgia jury freed the night riders. It became one of the first federal cases charging Klan members with violating a person’s civil rights.

He told the story with a combination of zeal and nostalgia that makes me wonder why I want to get out of the business. Thirty-eight years later he’s running the show here and doing it with a daily drive that beats any I’ve seen so far.

What truly sucks eggs is how painfully little we get paid to do this. We watch our college roommates enter into high-paying, high-benefit jobs and we do our best to make sure we don’t rip the suits we bought in college because there’s a good chance we won’t be able to afford another one this year. We watch Katie Couric pulling down millions of dollars a year while we find ways to get around dry cleaning for another month.

My desk is cluttered right now. It is scattered with hastily-scribbled notes about bank robbers and other ne’er-do-wells. Bottle caps from much-needed caffeine containers are stacked more than a foot high…an attempt to entertain myself in a moment of malaise. A page ripped out of an issue of Cosmo featuring new news babe Ashleigh Banfield (according to Cosmo she is a “ballsy broadcaster” ) sits propped against my cubicle…30% of the article is about her boyfriend/producer/fiancee Drew. She’s just a few years older than me and destined for network stardom.

So, what does this all mean? I dunno. A messy desk can say a lot about a person’s life and work. I can look at pictures of my wife and I locked in a black and white wedding kiss, a photographer and I in front of a big army tank and ankle-deep in Mojave Desert sand, and buddy and I pleasantly inebriated and strumming guitars on my back deck.

As I find myself telling people all the time…life ain’t so bad.

There has to be some balance, though. There has to be some way to enjoy one’s work and life at the same time. One man, Photgrapher Mr. E, tells me that answer is not to make one’s work one’s life. I think that is a grand idea, but I have a hard time dividing the two and doing both justice at the same time.

But the sun is out and mayhaps it will shine a light on something for me. It’s good for that kind of thing.

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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