Sunday, January 21, 2007

Misery Loves Company

Slow news day here in my corner of Connecticut. With nothing else to report for my paper I went to various sports bars in town to research the following exposé: sports bars have increased business during the playoffs to the Super Bowl.

Then I returned to my office and stared at my computer screen, trying to get at least ten column inches’ worth of writing out of five column inches’ worth of material. A basic journalism rule of thumb is: the less you have to actually say, the more poetically you say it. I wrote an opening quoting some anonymous pundit (whom I may have invented) calling Super Bowl Sunday America’s number-one religious holiday, and explained how sports bars, like any church, see increased attendance as the holy day draws near; and as I tried to think of a way to somehow force “acolytes” or “advent season” into the metaphor one of the editorial assistants, so young he’s not even allowed to drink yet, walked up to me.

“Hey, Jennifer, did you Google Chris Farley?” he asked. His tone of voice was one that people use when they ask “did you do that thing you were supposed to do, and you’ll be in trouble if you didn’t?”

I responded to the tone more than the words, and so felt a tad guilty when I said “No, I haven’t.” Even as I uttered the words my brain ruffled through its short-term memory, thinking “when was I supposed to Google Chris Farley?” and “isn’t he dead?”

“Do it,” said the editorial assistant. “Google-image search for Chris Farley.”

I didn’t mind an excuse to take a break from my sports-bar story, so with a mental shrug I did as he suggested. A bunch of little pictures appeared on the screen, but my at-work monitor has such low resolution that none of them really looked like anything to me until the editorial assistant clicked on one of them, and it expanded to full size on my screen.

“Aaaigh! That’s disgusting!” I cried.

“Isn’t it?” he said. “I can’t believe somebody posted his death pictures on the Web. That is so gross. I wish I hadn’t seen it.”

“Me too,” I snapped as I closed out of that screen. “So why the hell did you show it to me?”

“I don’t know,” he said with an embarrassed chuckle. “I just wanted someone else to see it.”

And you know what’s really sad? As annoying as that was, I know exactly how he felt.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Brad Warbiany said...

I still have a web image in my head that's so disturbing, I don't even dare mention the name or give you clues on how to find it. It's the most physically repulsive thing I've ever seen, and I'm not exactly a prude. I wouldn't wish it on you...

8:18 PM  
Anonymous A Moose said...

Googlebot Update: Ok, NOW we're talkin...I get "Go to hell US Govt", "Property Rights Attorney", and similar vein. Jennifer, they've found the real you!! I'd celebrate by clicking through, but I don't do that on the first date..er...no, I just don't do that in general.

Pics-The web brings out depravity (spelling?) on a larger scale than any other time in human history.

7:25 AM  
Blogger rhhardin said...

The bars are there so that you don't have wives there, I gather. That would be the story, if you wanted to expand it into a Dave Barry piece.

There's an amusing story of an expert woman in a sports bar http://rhhardin.home.mindspring.com/imuscut.kolber.ram (4:30 in), following a comment by Andy Rooney on women in football not belonging http://rhhardin.home.mindspring.com/imuscut.arooney3.ram

7:25 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Ron, supposedly I'm going to be getting my own column in a month or so. (No extra pay, alas.) If I do, that's when I can turn stories into Dave Barry pieces.

7:35 AM  
Blogger Anne O'Neimaus said...

Pics-The web brings out depravity (spelling?) on a larger scale than any other time in human history.

A Moose: One of the unlooked-for, but very much used and appreciated, benefits of using Firefox for my browser is that it includes built-in spell-checking of information entered into text-fields. Spell-checking ain't ever perfect, but it does offer useful assistance for words such as "depravity".

8:09 AM  
Anonymous a moose said...

but it does offer useful assistance for words such as "depravity".

Yep, at home, where I have such things, it does help. Alas, at the office, somewhat less so.

8:36 AM  
Anonymous NoStar said...

"...,supposedly I'm going to be getting my own column in a month or so. (No extra pay, alas.) If I do, that's when I can turn stories into Dave Barry pieces."

Whoo-Hoo!
After that, the next stop is Syndication city. Back up the dump truck full of Franklins and start shoveling.

9:44 AM  
Anonymous a moose said...

Whoo-Hoo!
After that, the next stop is Syndication city. Back up the dump truck full of Franklins and start shoveling.


And kill the googlebots, and get your soul back....

10:56 AM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

"And kill the googlebots"


googlegoogle... sniff. googlegoogle... goog... sniff. (tears) googlegoogle...oh, boohoogle google. googlegoogle.

1:19 PM  
Anonymous Kitty said...

I make a habit of sending all my friends links to particularly awful right-wing political sites (NOT Free Republic -- more like this: http://www.feminine-genius.typepad.com/. I've never closely analyzed why I like to make myself angry, but it makes me feel better to take others along for the ride. So yeah, I know exactly how he felt, too.

7:40 PM  

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