Long, long ago in a land known as Leesburg, there lived an idealistic, young, bright, stunning, broadcast journalism student. That student was ME and I was headed straight to the top, baby. I had big dreams. I wanted fame and fame costs, and right here is where I started paying, in sweat. That last bit might be from the movie Fame, but it fits, kind of, though let’s be honest, I wasn’t going to pay for anything in sweat. I WAS, however, ready to work hard to be the next Barbara Walters and I had the tools to do it. I had a plethora of pantsuits, I had seen the movie Broadcast News numerous times, I had broadcast ready hair, and I was willing to lose 3-5 lbs if necessary. I wasn’t messing around.
After my first year of college, community college by the way, I applied to be an intern at a TV station in Orlando for a summer. I didn’t know how I would live in Orlando for the summer, I worked at a yogurt place and lived at home my first year of college and Orlando was about an hour away, so I would have to move there and find an apartment and a job but I thought I would figure that out if I got the internship, which I truly did not think I would get. WELL, I got it.
I accidentally ended up living in an apartment in the worst part of town possible and actually ended up breaking my lease when there was a shoot out in the courtyard. I, personally, had no incidents at all, and I have really fond memories of that time, except for the shootout and a hamster that I had as a pet who ran away. I hope he made it out alive or is still holed up between the walls with a GIANT block of cheese, just living the high life. I don’t have a CLUE what hamsters eat, but let’s say cheese. The fact that I don’t know what they eat might unravel the mystery of why he ran away, but I digress.
My beat, or assignment for you laymen, was to go out with the Live at 5 crew, which was fluff news at its finest. This was the late 80′s so be kind when you watch this clip, that I am probably not in. Who am I kidding, I know I’m not in it, I’ve watched it several times. I DO vividly remember several of these shots and I know I was there for quite a few of them. I also remember going to the Olive Garden afterwards with the reporter and the cameraman and them buying me wine even though I was only 19. ‘Twas a simpler time then. Simpler and easier to buy booze for under-aged interns.
I loved my internship, and I loved living in Orlando. So much so that I stayed there well after my internship ended. I eventually lost track of Bob and the cameraman Louis, though there were other Olive Garden nights, the bloom was off that rose. They had a new intern, and she was blonde.
I was a bit of a legend back at my old community college in Leesburg. I was the first person to land an internship in the big city of Orlando. I was probably the first person to apply, but let’s not split hairs. In the middle of the summer my old Journalism professor called to see how everything was going and to offer me a spot on a morning talk show back in Leesburg. My thoughts were as follows:
- Eeew. Mornings.
- Bitch, I am so far beyond Leesburg now. I am pulling CABLE in ORLANDO. Take your on air spot and shove it up your hiney.
I thanked her but declined the offer. Eventually I quit school, started to work in a big hotel, then Sea World, then a big hotel again, then a day care, then Universal Studios Islands of Adventure where FINALLY, my talent could SHINE as a dinosaur wrangler with a HUGE speaking part in Triceratops Encounter, not so much a RIDE as an EXPERIENCE (that is no longer in operation, probably through no fault of mine.) I hung out and partied hard in Orlando for 9 years or so and moved back to Gainesville where I met my ex-husband, had son # 1, got married, had son # 2, made some horrible personal choices and drove my life into a ditch for a while, got divorced, got heart surgery, fought and scrapped to get here and Boom. Here we are.
The past couple of days I have come across a few clips that some might find troubling but I see them as a cry for help. The world is crying out for me. First this clip of CNN reporter Susan Candiotti being asked by Wolf Blitzer (THIS close to that being my on-air name) to describe the scene in Watertown, Massachusetts, which of course is the city that police had shut down days before searching for the man suspected of bombing the Boston Marathon. Susan VERY astutely states that “it is as though a bomb had dropped somewhere.” Indeed, Susan. Indeed.
This next one would surely have appeared in my “What the hell” post from a few days ago if I had seen it then. This poor schlub named AJ Clemente drops the F-Bomb on his very first day on the air. He didn’t know that his mic was on and he was working through his nerves before going live, or so he thought, BUT, honestly, even outside of that, he did kind of a terrible job with the basic rules of broadcasting, like, knowing which camera to look at and honestly, Van didn’t do that great a job herself. While we’re talking about it, why don’t you let your anchor people sit down in North Dakota? That would at least put a stop to the rocking back and forth that AJ was doing, though they can save their chair budget for this year since AJ was fired after his first epic day on the air. Best of luck AJ. I think Universal Studios Islands of Adventure is hiring.
America, my time is now. I am America. I am overweight like 36% of Americans, I am divorced like 51% of Americans, I still have those pantsuits and my hair can be camera-ready in about 20 minutes, give or take depending on humidity. PLUS, Americans love an underdog story. How heartwarming is the story of the 43 year old might have been famous broadcasting student getting another shot at stardom? Finally, two years of community college starts paying off NOW.