Today was my final day in service of my benevolent employer. As I told my fellow wage slaves, I feel a tinge of shame over leaving on good terms. It doesn't do much for my writer reputation to have left quietly, my bag of stuff under my arm, 550 stock options to pin my hopes on. A part of me wishes I had been dragged out naked, stinking of whisky and screaming death threats.
My departure today is particularly poignant because it is not only the end of five and a half years at the same company but, hopefully, it is also the end of my news career. Obviously, if I'm starting over at age 30, I have a few issues with this business, but it hasn't been a total loss. You can learn from every experience. Here is some of what I have learned over my 12-year attempt to be a newsman:
There are a lot of evil people. There are a lot of stupid people. Most of them live in Ohio and Florida.
North Carolina is unnervingly conservative.
Southern Californians are the ugly Americans of America.
Old people are not good drivers.
Pit bulls love the taste of children.
Few things are more exciting or newsworthy than a bear in a tree.
The public hates quality public education; they especially hate paying for it.
Whatever's wrong, it's Bill Clinton's fault. Unless it's George W. Bush's fault.
Contrary to what "Law & Order" would have you to believe, most people who commit violent crimes are terribly inept when it comes to putting together an alibi.
If the 14-year-old girl with whom you are having an illicit online relationship asks you to travel out of state to meet her for sex, it's a trick.
Most people stop learning shortly before they enter the workforce.
The media is neither liberally nor conservatively biased. It is lazy.
There are a lot of really, really, really crazy people. Those with the capacity to send angry e-mails or make angry phone calls are largely responsible for editorial policy.
Journalism schools are apparently teaching that puns and alliteration are the two most important elements to news writing.
Journalism in television is like good beer in Cheyenne, Wyo. -- it is very hard to find. There is plenty of booze available in Cheyenne, and there is plenty of news available in the modern world. But finding quality in either case is a challenge.
Ignorance is powerful.
Life is shockingly fragile.