The other day I heard something on CNN that made my jaw tighten. The reporter was commenting on what viewers can expect to see at the convention. She said something like, “In an attempt to emphasize Kerry’s military service, the Democrats will be parading out the gunboat crew with whom Kerry served.”
Parading? Someone missed her high-school journalism class on diction and bias.
I know journalists have reason to be jaded when it comes to political conventions, but around here, we have a great deal of respect for that gunboat crew. I cringe to think of any one of them them hearing a reporter refer to the crew as though they were prancing show poodles. As though grown men lack the ability to decide where they want to be, whom they want to support.
These are the men who watched as their best friends were killed, the men who left their families because their country said it was a good idea, and then returned home to realize that their country had turned its back. And we don’t “parade” them around. We honor them.
Scenario: Things get increasingly stressful around the office.
I will never, ever do this again.
Yes you will. Give it four years.
It’s like being a serial killer. You know it’s bad, but you keep doing it anyway.
In the office, we have a whiteboard. The whiteboard has little squares, and the squares represent the volunteers we need. Each day we check off about 25 of the squares, but it’s a painful and arduous process, one that involves about fifteen phone calls for every one person who meets a specific set of criteria. Today we checked our email account for fresh volunteers. Our staff tends to talk aloud as they read these messages. A few days ago, I realized that one of my interns needs some time off:
“Hey, this guy used an exclamation point. That’s what I’m talkin’ about. He is ready to roll.”
Say, are you familiar with the Boston area? Are you over 21? Do you have a valid driver’s license? Are you sane? If so, fantastic. I need you — and your friends who are like you. I’m looking for volunteers to help the Kerry-Edwards campaign during the convention. It’s a big time commitment, but a cool opportunity. Email email@example.com. Leave us your phone number, and we’ll give you a call.
Scenario: I’m talking with my boss in her office. Her boss enters:
Him: Can you finish this list by tomorrow?
Her: Whatever you need, boss.
Him: Say, that’s a first!
Me: That’s what you like to hear, huh?
Him: (to her) Great, then I’ll just… (turns to me with a perplexed look) Did you just call me Happy Bear?
Me: Happy Bear? No, I said… (long pause) Actually, yes. I absolutely just called you Happy Bear.
Her: At least, that’s what we’re calling you from now on.
In the early mornings, it’s quiet except for the drone of CNN humming from dozens of TVs around the convention office. There’s one in the lobby, one in every break room, one in the open space where our campaign staff lives, and a few more scattered around the floor. I’m currently resisting the impulse to change all of them to “MTV Video Wake-Up.”
It’s possible the fourteen-hour days are adversely affecting my sense of humor.