Thursday, January 19, 2012

A journalism career has its downsides

I love getting-to-know-you conversations. Mine generally have some version of the following exchange in there somewhere:
Person 1: So, what do you do?
Me: I'm a newspaper reporter.
P1 with huge eyes: Are you serious? That is so cool!!!!
Me: I know.

It was even better when I was an investigative reporter. My cool points were through the roof.

Other benefits include, but are not limited to: research=surfing the Internet, social media is part of a day's work, I'm supposed to leave the office, I have a supercool press pass that gets me into the good seating at events (for work — Girl Scout's honor, I have never abused that), an "early day" is anything before 9:15 a.m. and I have the potential for seriously awesome answers to, "so how was your week?"

However, lest you think it's all fun and games and you start flooding your local paper begging for this job, let me disabuse you of that notion.

It's not. Sometimes, in the course of your normal workday, you are confronted with this:

That is the result of a web search I did on "mag pul stock," an entry in a crime brief. I had no idea what this was, so I turned to Google and learned that it was actually a Magpul stock, and, well, I still wasn't sure what it was. Something gun-related. That was actually fine, but there was that offensive little aside. I may also like?!? I assuredly would not like them. I'm now stuck with the reality that nothing goes away on the Internet and now, somewhere in the Google search engine, is a cookie informing the Internet that I looked up some sort of gun thing and now I "might like" some other sorts of gun things. It will take me years to overcome this.

And, lest you think I am blowing this way out of proportion, let me assure you that this isn't the first incident of its kind. I've looked up prostitutes online. I've read some R-rated crime descriptions. I've had to defend myself to a bunch of Boy Scouts as to why I don't like explosions. I've had to finish an interview politely after the interviewee called me Patty. I've had to look up information because some caller doesn't know how to use the Internet. I had to sit through a Jonas Brothers concert.

Still think my job is awesome?

Yeah, OK, it totally is. The rest there's therapy for.

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