Thursday, November 10, 2005

Fraud on the Beat

Good Morrow.

So last night I doffed my reporter’s hat (my husband has threatened for a long time to make me a hat that bears a placard in its brim reading, “Scoop”) and headed to an event that I am writing about for a local publication. It was a youth court, a diversion program for kids who have been convicted of a first or second offense misdemeanor. In lieu of having a nasty juvenile record and about twenty minutes of police time, they get a six month program in which they run these courts and act as attorneys, bailiffs, and jury, sentencing their peers.

It turns out that another reporter was there from a paper that competes with the publication I am writing for (I’m freelance, mind you). I have never been somewhere where I was one of a cache of reporters vying for said scoop. Somehow she and I even got seated next to one another during the proceeding, which I didn’t want. And of course, I instantly felt like a fraud. She was the real reporter with the staff photographer in tow, the lovely cream-colored cable-knit sweater, and appropriate uniform reporter-sized notebook. She needed only write short bites of information while I, holding a fairly large purple notebook, dressed in my salmon-colored bargain sweater and pants, broke a sweat trying to get as much info down as possible. And of course, she was there, which means if my memory’s filter, or my ability to read my own notes is incorrect, she can gloat later that she did the better job.

But I have something on her. I have no boss. I can work in my jammies. (For that matter, I could work in nothing, or in a plastic bag, or in a gorilla suit wearing a tiara). My commute is less than a minute, doesn’t waste gas and comes with the best coffee I can buy. I don’t have to do anything anyone tells me to do, or sit trying to drown out the noise of a loud newsroom, or for that matter rare is the day that I have to churn out copy in an hour’s time. I don’t have to worry about some jerk stinking up the bathroom, or eating the rest of my lunch, or forgetting to replace the jug on the water cooler, or losing my favorite parking space, or getting sick of the limited places to have my hurried lunch.
So there. Now I feel better.


I ask you, whatcha gotta do to get yourself a Wikipedia entry? Probably not use derivatives of proper English like “whatcha” and “gotta.” Probably upset, horrify, or blaspheme against the masses, or else get famous for something bizarre. I might, for instance, decide to be the first woman to live on the roof of a house in the Bay Area as a form of protest against the high cost of homes. That would be someone else’s house, mind you. Or maybe I could photo-shop myself into existing shots of Jennifer Aniston and release them to some tabloids as proof that Jen-An is in fact NOT dating Vince Vaughn, but rather giving him some ear on how to be less of a slovenly disgrace, because she is in fact dating me. Or perhaps I could write some crazy manifesto on how to ingest one’s own urine in order to cure all ills (oh wait—that THAThas already been done). Or perhaps I could camp outside the home of one of Wikipedia’s staff members with a pitchfork and some glow-in-the-dark paint and make scary faces in the window.

I guess I’ll have to wait and hope I publish a proper book like other people.



At 1:48 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

I used to work (3 months only) for a teen court program like that. The boss was so horrible I have stricken all mention of that job from my resume. The kids liked the program though. And you're not a fraud.

At 1:45 PM, Blogger Myfanwy Collins said...

Love you to bits and pieces, Jordan. You're anything BUT a fraud, my friend.


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