Building Confidence

For several weeks Angela had suspected Kristen of undercutting her editorial authority. She accused Kristen of little things at first; purposely using a certain computer to keep Angela from working on the front page and changing headlines or photographs for the paper.

It soon progressed into much larger accusations. Angela confided in Tommy that she believed Kristen had locked her out of the computers main frame. She also said that Kristen had been using company equipment to work for another news gathering organization.

Angela became more and more hostile towards Kristen. She transferred her to production, to work on advertisements. Angela even forbid Kristen from being in the newsroom for any reason.

One afternoon Kristen walked into the newsroom to say hello to her friend Angie. She sat down in a chair next to Angela’s desk and started talking to the reporter. Within seconds Kristen found herself being screamed at by the editor.

“You were told that you were not to be in here for any reason,” Angela yelled at the younger woman. Angela was red in the face and shaking her finger at Kristen.

Kristen sat frozen from the sudden verbal attack. She said nothing to Angela as tears began to well up in her eyes.

Jessica and Tommy stopped what they were working on as Angela Williamson became more irate and foul mouthed towards the woman. Neither one could believe what they were hearing or seeing.

It was not the last time Angela found a reason to confront Kristen.

The second time was when Kristen and one of her co-workers in production walked down the corridor to go to lunch. They passed around the perimeter of the newsroom which was line by a half wall and a long counter.

Angela was unable to stop the pair as they left the building, but she was prepared when Kristen and the other woman came into the building using the same door and started around the counter and half-wall. She jumped up from her desk and rushed at Kristen, flashing photographs of her as she went.

“I’m tired of you disobeying me,” Angela screamed. “I’m going to call Ed and show him these pictures. You’re not going to get away with lying to him this time. Now get the eff out of my newsroom and don’t let me see you in here again!”

It was another nasty scene that Jessica, Angie and Tommy could not believe had occurred.

Later that day several production workers and salespeople wanted to know what was the problem with Angela. One even approached Tommy as he walked to the bathroom.

“What the hell is her problem?” the saleswoman asked. Then she added, “I don’t know how you can stand to work for a person like that. She acts like an alcoholic.”

Tommy never answered because he didn’t want to find himself on the receiving end of Angela’s wrath and he didn’t want to engage in rumors. He did stop by Kristen’s work station to ask if she were alright after being verbally abused.

Kristen smiled as she turned red, recalling the embarrassing situation and said, “Yeah, I’m tough.”

Within four weeks Kristen quit her position and went to work at the major newspaper in the area. Angie never recovered from seeing her co-worker and friend humiliated like she was; she soon found another reporting position in Southern California.

One Fracture and a Big Scratch

The last few days have been hard on my body and mind. After falling during cross-country practice last week while coaching, my right forearm would not quit hurting.

I went to the VAMC and had it x-rayed.  Yup, I broke it.

My record is looking pretty good averaging out the last three-years. I have fallen three times (once a year) and only broken stuff twice.

If I were a pro baseball player I’d be batting 66-percent.

It is a spiral fracture that left my arm feeling very tender, especially when I would bump it every few minutes. Shoot, jus’ lifting my fingers caused me pain, so typing has been out of the question until today.

Then I had a problem with my truck–twice. It was the same problem both times.

The second time I was left stranded in Gerlach, Nevada, waiting nearly three hours for the tow truck. It is finally fixed at the cost of about $900 that I didn’t ‘t really have to spend.

Virginia, Santa will be late.

Jump to this last Wednesday, when I drove with the cross-country team to Yerington, Nevada for a meet.

The weather was windy but warm–a nice day for a three-mile run. I was watching the first place runner speed to the finish line when I was run over by the second place finisher.

I didn’t even see him coming!

He ran right through the finish line and into the flagging that was supposed to direct him down to where he would find out his time.  Instead he raced right into the flagging and me.

I remember hearing a ‘crunch ‘ which I believe was my neck ‘popping’ as I struck the ground.

The other spectators told me later that both the runner and I went flying head-over-heels. When I woke up face down in the grass, the flagging and my camera were wrapped tightly around my throat.

I recall trying to remember when cross­ country races had become a contact sport.  Needless to say I have been rather stoved-up since it happened and I know my lower back HATES me.

Then today a five-year old boy decided to take a rock and rub it the length of my pick-up truck. I followed him home and talk with his grandpa and him.

He said that he did it because the two boys playing in my drive way said too. However, I had heard the conversation and knew that they were telling him NOT to throw rocks “because you could scratch the guy’s truck.”

I watched, so dumbfounded that I couldn’t say anything as he ran the rock the length of the truck.

After talking to the boy and his grandpa, I found out that little boy thought the two older kids had TOLD him to scratch the truck.  I ended walking home, laughing all the way, unable to be mad over a simple mistake like that.

What’s in A Name

Labor Day, I filled in on the air for another newscaster who had taken the three day weekend off. It was during my 7 p.m. newscast that I misspoke Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s last name and I knew it.

Instead of “Pell-oh-see,” like it should be, I said “Poh-slee” or something to that effect. I followed the general rule of thumb in radio and television that teaches broadcasters to move forward even if you ‘gaff it,’ don’t wait around trying to fix the mistake—just move on.

No sooner had I switched off the microphone, than the studio telephone started ringing. It was a male listener who was intent on criticizing me for my error.

After so many years of radio broadcasting, a person kind of gets the idea of what is going to the topic of conversation.

The first time I answered the phone he wanted to know if I was the announcer. I told him I was and he proceeded to ask, “Do you know how to say Nancy Pelosi’s last name?”

My response was emphatic and immediate, “Yes, but didn’t you listen to what you’re grandma told you: If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all?”

Then I added, “Thank you for the call. Have a nice evening.”

I hung up the phone. A few seconds later the phone rang again. It was the same guy and once again he wanted to know it I knew how to say Nancy Pelosi’s last name correctly.

I responded, “I know I said her name wrong,” then added, “When you get your own radio show then you can be critical of me all you want.”

In my mind there was nothing left for me to say and there certainly was nothing left for me to hear. I screwed up her name and I realized it before anybody else. I think that it is appallingly rude to call someone you don’t really know and remind them of their short comings.

Then around 9 a.m., Tuesday morning, I got a telephone call from the stations Program Director wanting to know what happened at 7 p.m. My stomach fell through as I figured I was going to get “canned.”

He wanted to know what had happened and I recalled the entire incident for him. I also apologized for causing him a problem and not handling the situation in a better manner.

The Program Director explained to me that he deals with these sorts of situations all the time. His position was that the majority of complaints are listeners who have nothing better to do than “bust our chops” for any thing they can find wrong.

It doesn’t pay to be a smartass.