Saturday, April 7, 2012

Bread and Circuses

I'm typing this entry on my new iPad my editor purchased for me, which is intended to be used for my job. The plan is to use it at meetings and events, where I'll type notes, take photos and upload said information to the Internet, which is where everybody apparently winds up. The Internet is like Vegas: all glitz, glamor and sex delivered at hyper-speeds but with no remorse and you end up poorer after visiting.

So the idea is to link the weekly newspaper, already a dying dinosaur, to the Internet and bring our readers the latest information all lightening fast and beamed into their computers, smart phones and tablets.

Because we're living in the 21st Century where waiting is not an option, patience is outmoded and the Protestant work ethic can go suck it.

Not that I'm ungrateful or anything. I dig the shit out of the groovy iPad. Been playing a lot of Fruit Ninja. Downloading plenty of apps. Kicking butt with the super crystal clear touchscreen.

So I appreciate the iPad. I just hate the terms it was given to me. I loathe change, primarily because I've been a resident of a culturally and socially retarded county where change and progressive thinking are anathema. I dislike what this place has done to me. It's turned me into an intellectually-lazy dolt burdened by negative reactionary thinking. While it's great going to the county Republican convention and having nearly everybody shake my hand and greet me because I know practically everyone in the room, it leaves me dead inside. I really don't have any feelings about any one of those cardigan-wearing puppets.

They like me because I haven't told the truth about them. Because I'm fair and balanced and all the other jargony bullshit you're supposed to be as a reporter.

You're supposed to be an objective robot spewing words and facts sans opinion. I've worn this disguise like a master for the last two decades.

Yet when I go home, I want to punch a wall or join a fight club and beat someone up or scream at the top of my lungs like a primal warlord about to charge into battle, halberd raised, loins girded and chain mail stained with blood.

Let slip the dogs of war!

The life I chose for myself has been war, and it's kicking my ass. Here's how I'm going to turn the tide of the battle and win the war. Here's how I'm going to climb through the mound of severed limbs and shattered skulls and raped torsos to claim my sanity and triumph like the warrior prince I am.

I'm going to be totally and completely honest.

Not just on this silly little blog, which is like masturbation with words. Blogs are diddling behind the woodshed, except everyone can see you.

No, I plan to be honest with everything. Bitterly honest. The kind of honesty that ruins friendships and causes strangers to come swinging like drunken ninjas. Honesty will be my savior, my Jesus in a Porsche blazing a trail of righteous chaos.

So it's time for me to be honest about a few things on this little bloggy-woggy.

Here goes:

1. I'd like to do more investigative reporting. Deeply-researched, well-written reporting which moves mountains, causes the angels to weep and forces mass defenestration of corrupt government officials. The readers need this kind of reporting. They need to hear something than a fluff piece on how great the real estate market is doing.

2. I hate how the advertising department is treated better than editorial. We're the parasites and the sales representatives are revered and idolized. I'm told editorial doesn't contribute any revenue for the paper. We only drain costs. Great working at a job where one is regarded as human sponges, taking up space and costing the company without contributing anything. Sorry, but without reporters you have no articles, the main reason people buy the newspaper. I get how advertising is part of the circle, bringing in revenue for the paper. But tolerating the inner-office pissing contests is frustrating beyond measure.

3. The city is run by idiots. Seriously. It's like a high school clique of jocks and cheerleaders with major insecurities not wanting to relinquish control for even a nanosecond. I don't mean to be disrespectful, but they bring this on themselves. Maybe they don't realize they're so reactionary. Flashing their Cheshire cat grins, they welcome tourists to their community, touting its virtues as a Christian retreat, while sniping in the background at each other. This pisses me off most of all. The pettiness and phoniness. The fear each one of them has for innovation and taking risks, of letting go and undertaking the untried. Again, the feeling that if something has always been done a certain way, change is unnecessary. Maybe the reason nothing ever changes is because the same control freaks are in power, an inner circle of dunderheads and sunshine Christians who revere God on Sunday and blaspheme the rest of the week.

4. My coworkers treat me like shit. I'm tired of twenty-something hipster snark and being referred to pejoratively as an "old man". You're 26. Wonderful. Now act like it, not like a spiteful teen riddled with rootless anger. I have something to be angry about, not you.

5. If the city wants to build a shitty modular home with bathrooms, let the people know about it. The welcome center/bathroom project is a mega-clusterfuck. People should communicate with each other, not dwell in their own little cliques (see point 3 above). Egos should be set aside for the greater good. Since selfishness and petty squabbling win out, everybody save a few privileged power players loses. Communicate, people. Be honest. Abandon your backwards thinking and embrace the future. Or alternatively, you could construct a shitty modular bathrooms and appease the business community who are tired of opening their restrooms to incontinent tourists.

If you've read this far, you're probably screaming at your monitor, "Hey, asshole! If you hate your job, the competition and people you work with, then just quit!"

Would if I could, little monkey.

I've got bills to pay. A lavish lifestyle to lead. Maybe a precocious offspring in the future. This might be a rusty locomotive, spewing soot and smoke and chugging along, but for now, it's my gravy train and I'm riding the motherfucker all the way down the line.

See, I've had an epiphany. A revelation, if you will. Life is a wonderful adventure, compacted into a relatively short span of time. You don't get a shiny reset button. You live the thing once and all goes black. Game over. I want my life to matter. I don't want to be one of these sorry gin-soaked, bloated losers who sit at a bar for decades lamenting on their glory days and what they would've been. I'm a kick ass journalist. I have the plaques and accolades to prove it. Yet, according to my girlfriend, I'm "in a rut" professionally.

The rut is borne by fear and uncertainty, which has led to stress and resentment. Fear because I realize I've wasted my time and talents in a crappy resort town where mediocrity holds sway. Uncertainty because I don't know if my best days as a writer are ahead of me, or I'm glimpsing them through a rear view mirror.

Either way, this has been a cathartic post.

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