Friday, November 2, 2012

Weekend Off!

I'm going to be a cold, dispassionate bastard this weekend. I'm going to watch DVD's of classic Bugs Bunny cartoons, Scooby Doo, "Space Ghost Coast to Coast," Abbot and Costello, the Marx Brothers, probably "Airplane," and the "Firefly" collection a friend lent me. Oh, and sports. Lots and lots of sports. Notre Dame will kick ass Saturday afternoon, but I'll watch any game I get in HD or grabs my attention on the satellite radio. College, pro, high school, hell I'll watch even watch bowling. Anything... except the news. No news. Nadda. No more hurricane coverage. The only Sandy I want to see this weekend is the squirrel in "SpongeBob."

And if you think I'm being an insensitive sonafabitch, what I'm doing is nothing compared to what media types are doing - if they can - this weekend in the greater New York Tri-State region, where after a 20-hour day of shooting burned out houses, flooded streets, and a devastated Jersey Shore, a videographer just climbed seven flights of stairs to his apartment, poured Makers Mark over his Captain Crunch, and fell asleep in front of "My Little Pony." Let him sleep. He'll have to spend the rest of the weekend on the phone trying to get an insurance adjuster to show up at his mother's house in Rockaway some time before the next arrival of Halley's comet.

You... you with your remote and your Netfilx and your DVR... YOU can turn it off. The moment the burnout, or news fatigue, Jersey Shore Overload, or whatever you want to call it starts to kick in, YOU can push a button, walk away, and "fergetaboudit." Me? I just put in a relatively normal 40 hour week and I feel like I've been living inside an episode of "Revolution." (Running that show in master control does not help.) I've been through tornadoes, blizzards, and whatever that thing was that blew 90mph winds all over the Midwest last June and killed our power for several days, and just staying on the air when something like that happens can be exhausting. And then there's 9-11. After being on the job for 16 hours, my wife and I put in a DVD of Scooby Doo and vegetated into a restless slumber until the alarm went off at 4am and we did it again. Even if it's only for five minutes, if you get a chance to turn it off, you turn it off. It helps to keep you from punching walls.

The people working in the media in New York must be worn to a frazzle. Sure, Brian Williams comes off cool and debonair on the air, but meet him in the men's room between shows and say "How's it going?" and he'll probably come back with something like, "Why don't you jump up[REMOVED BY BLOG ADMINISTRATOR]"

I just read where it took David Letterman an hour and a half by car to journey the 7 miles from the Ed Sullivan Theater in Midtown, to the taping of "Jimmy Kimmel Live" in Brooklyn. And I go [primate feces] if there's a line at the drive-thru window at Burger King. What am I getting excited about? Compared to Letterman, I got nothing.

So this weekend, if you are so inclined do to such a thing, take a moment to think about the working media in Greater New York and other areas devastated by extreme acts of nature. Pause to think about the guy lugging a 40 pound camera with enough battery packs to start a bus through flood water. Think about the reporter who hasn't seen her kids in two days because it takes hours just to get out to Breezy Point. And then there's all the people holed up in the station or network compiling, editing, directing, writing, and basically having to be exposed to hour after hour of Sandy coverage and somehow getting through it without losing it and shoving a flash drive up the news director's left nostril. To these fine people, a toast. I raise my bowl of Captain Crunch to them as I download "SuperFriends" on YouTube.

Hang tough.

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