Friday, April 18, 2008

3 months

Just about three months ago, I shadowed Bob Priddy in the Missourinet news room (who, as I'm writing this, just yelled out to the rest of the news room, "we've got the latest Wall Street Urinal here!") during my first week at Learfield. I learned from others that Bob had been working at Learfield for 30 years, and was one of the first Missourinet reporters. Bob asked that I arrive at 5:30am that day; so I got there in my navy blue blazer, kakis, shirt and tie at around 5:40, to watch Bob do... whatever he does. I was in awe as I stood in the recording booth; he recorded his news stories with impeccable timing, recording them at 1:59 if supposed to be under 2 minutes, every time without fumbling even once. I sat there next to him at his computer as he typed up story after story, a routine he had maintained over a quarter of a century, a majority of those years spent in front of a typewriter and microphone, often broadcasting live. Bob didn't talked to me much, despite me breathing on his neck for a good two hours, and when he did talk to me, he maintained his focus on his current project, rarely turning to me. I didn't take this as impolite; I knew the news was always time-sensitive, and I didn't want to get in the way. At around 8 o'clock Bob got a call from one of the other reporters, asking him if he wanted any breakfast from Hardees. Bob told him what he wanted, then swiveled to me, put the phone to his chest and said, "Does the intern want anything?"

"Sure," I said, "a chicken biscuit meal would be great."

"A chicken biscuit..." Bob looked perplexed.

He turned back to the computer, and told the reporter what I wanted.

"The intern wants a chicken biscuit... That's right," he again turned to me, "Brent doesn't think they have chicken biscuits. In case they don't have it, what would you like?"

I was surprised, "Really? Uh, I guess a bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit meal, then." I made sure to get the "meal" part in there. A biscuit, by itself, is rarely satisfying to me.

Bob relayed the messaged, hung up the phone, and returned to his work. About twenty minutes later, a frazzled, bald, bearded man walked in with Hardees bags in his hands. This must be Brent, I thought.

"A chicken biscuit?" he asked, incredulously.

"They have 'em in Virginia," I said.

"I mean, I was like, 'do you have chicken biscuits?'," he said, "and they said, 'they're real popular in southern Missouri, but we don't have 'em here.' I'd never heard of that before, a chicken biscuit; must be a southern thing."

So began what I discovered to be a pigeon-holing of Virginia as "the south." It was also the beginning of what I have come to appreciate as one of the most translatable to sitcom workplaces I have ever experienced. It just so happens that this workplace is also showing me a lot about myself and what I want do with my life.

This morning, Brent asked Bill (the sports director) and I if we wanted to go get some breakfast. We first went to the HyVee (grocery store) to get some Starbucks coffee and food. I was dissatisfied with the selection of food there; so, I decide I wanted to go to Hardees. Brent and Bill agreed to ride along. As we pulled up to the drive-thru menu, I perused each biscuit, only to find an advertisement on the side for a new biscuit: "New! Chicken Biscuit"
I pointed it out to Brent and he laughed. He then told Bill the story of my first week at Learfield.
I then pondered some deep relections about the passage of time, and something about growing up, probably.

I later enjoyed the greasy chicken biscuit at my desk, and am currently awaiting the stomach-ache that never fails to follow it.

Apparently, I'm appreciated here.


remember this?


Greg said...

someone actually collected enough points to win that jet. and then he sued when they wouldn't give it to him.

Jon Allison said...