Wednesday, August 09, 2006
One of the valuable opportunities within the VJ program was the "training time" that was built into your schedule. It was a very nice idea. For all the hard-working, industrious, go-get-'em types, this meant finding a mentor in whichever area of TV news that interested you, such as audio or writing. Then during training time you'd sit with them, dip into their deep reservoirs of knowledge and pave your way for the next step in your career.
This was a rather successful tactic for the company, since CNN hired a lot of well-scrubbed, bright-eyed young people ready to take on the world.
The only hiccup in this plan was when they hired a jackass like me.
I had two full hours of training time built into my schedule and I can honestly say I never trained on anything for one minute. Yes I know--squandered opportunities. And as my spotty career track record can testify, this is a cautionary tale. I am not at all proud, merely truthful.
A list of things I did instead of bettering myself during training time:
1.)Taking stupid pictures in the food court/atrium (see above)
2.)Buying cheap shoes
3.)Sending bizarre AP wire stories about pubic hair and trapped monkeys to co-workers
4.)Reading trashy magazines
6.)Running into an establishment in downtown Atlanta with nice, normal couples swaying on the dance floor, seizing the dance floor with crazed, wildly gesticulating abandon for one song and then running out
7.)Considering having sex in an edit bay but never following through
8.)Returning cheap shoes after realizing I needed to eat before the next paycheck
9.)Perusing the files of viewer letters, one of which complained about being tired of a certain anchor's "dusty vagina."
AND MY FAVORITE TRAINING TIME ACTIVITY:
10.) Boozing it up at Reggies in the Omni atrium
Now, I am saddened to report that Reggies is no longer there, and has been replaced by a Mexican restaurant. I cannot understand why some Atlanta Historical Society, the same folks who put up those brown signs in front of various strip malls, thereby marking the spot where Robert E. Lee once burped, why did they not step in to preserve a true Atlanta landmark? It's a crime.
Reggies was a murky English pub with reddish carpet that smelled a little of vinegar and other less-definable scents. (Actually, even if they were definable, I'm not sure I'd want to know.) They had great fries and poured a superb pint. Once I "trained" there with a co-worker and we lost track of time. When he looked at his watch he realized he had two and a half minutes to get back to master control for the next show. So he tore out of there, pushing aside patrons and passersby. The waitress came back with the check and said,
"I saw how he just up and zoomed out of here, leaving you with the bill. Honey, you need to get yourself a new man."
Reggies was such a staple for CNNers that it was often referred to as "C CONTROL", as though it were a separate CNN control room. Each time I'd go in there, I'd find at least one co-worker. One anchor from CNNI in particular camped out there so much that when he was late to the set, people always knew where to find him. I worry about what happened to him when it shut down. I wonder if he sniffed around the deserted pub in the initial days after its closure; confused, lost, disoriented. This desolate, broken man was left to wander the atrium, searching for a new home...