Some of my readers have been complaining about the reliability of blog posts. Recently, I’ve missed some days and I haven’t been posting at a regular time. All true. Guilty as charged.
Well, here’s what happened.
I was minding my own business, trying to update my Excel skills. I was nearly there when I happened to open up our local newspaper and found an ad for a Freelance Photographer for my local newspaper.
Now they don’t pay much. But as my unemployment benefits ran out two months ago and my legs shriek in horror at the prospect of spending eight hours a day standing frozen in one place at a cashier at Walmart or Target due to the probable onset of arthritis, I thought it behooved me to respond to the freelance photographer ad.
If Walmart would pay more, which it certainly would, why take such a lower paying job? Because I made that mistake once before. If I had taken the opportunity, I might be the owner of my own photo studio or I might be commanding great pay for children’s parties and weddings (which would be more to my liking). Who knows?
The problem is, I can never make up my mind what I really am, want, or should do. Is my first responsibility towards my current financial state, a future career as a secretary, a future career as a writer, or a future career as a photographer? Really, at my age, I wasn’t thinking in terms of “career.” Since I put aspirations aside for the pragmatism of paying bills, soon or later, those aspirations were going to catch up with me.
I’ve been living my life in reverse, it seems. Now, with a thick portfolio of photos and writing samples, I’ll be at the bottom of the ladder at small-town newspaper where most people usually begin their careers.
At the time I submitted my application for the position, I was in secretarial mode. Suddenly, I had to think “photo portfolio”; something I hadn’t updated in years. Now I had to go through my considerable collection of company and community photos and pick out the most interesting pictures and print them out. Yikeys.
I did nothing but format and print for two days. There was simply no time for blogging. The photo editor seemed suitably impressed. He said he would make an appointment with the editors of the local newspaper (he’s the photo editor for the newspaper group) who, frankly, fired me for criticizing violent movies back in the mid-1980s. They were very nasty about it. This editor seemed to have heard about it.
I wonder if he and those editors heard about the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre? He could see that I have experience in photographing children, school events, company events involving employees’ children, as well as parades, concerts, business openings – all the kinds of events that newspaper specializes in.
The editor at the time was upset because I had disobliged the movie theater owners who advertised in the paper by criticizing violent movies. Sandy Hook could have very easily happened at the Stony Brook School, Lenox Elementary School, the Aaron Decker School or the Martha B. Day School. It could still happen. I knew that back then, when I was in my twenties. That’s why I took such a stand against uber-violent movies like Robocop and video games like Doom.
I like taking happy pictures (and writing happy stories). I dread the thought of getting the call from a future photo editor directing me to go around the block to the Colfax Elementary School (a short walk from my home; fortunately, since the streets would be choked with emergency vehicles) to take photos of haggard cops, surviving children marching out of the school with their hands over their heads, and weeping, heartbroken parents wondering what they’re going to do with all their childless Christmas presents.
The newspaper’s advertisers don’t like a reporter taking a stand against violence? The newspaper doesn’t mind being in the van against a former chemical company that specialized in mercury-laden chemicals that went into weapons of war; the mercury seeped into the water table causing serious health problems in the neighborhood. But that was a big, bad “war profiteer” that allegedly hasn’t cleaned up the site well enough or made enough reparations to its “victims”.
There is merit in the health claims. There is also merit in denouncing gratuitous violence in the films our children see and the games they play. The advertisers don’t like it?
Well, isn’t that just too bad? I’ve probably just talked myself out of a job. If so, then I’ll go back to my Excel lessons. I’d rather be a bored secretary then a hypocritical reporter.