What do you mean ‘Where’s my column?’

By Bryan Richardson

There’s no worse feeling than realizing you’ve forgotten to do something very important at work on a Friday afternoon. You’re all geared up to go and relax for the weekend when an unfortunate set of circumstances keeps you (and sometimes other people) at work longer than anticipated.

That’s the story behind this column. Our lovely cops/courts reporter, Katherine Wartell, signed me up for this assignment as a joke after I signed her up for a previous column.

The difference was that I constantly reminded her about her upcoming obligation while she didn’t do that for me. So it came as a surprise to me Friday when I was asked to produce my Off the Beat column.

I could very rightfully blame Katherine for not reminding me, but that would not address the actual issue of my extreme forgetfulness.

For instance, after completing some dynamic reporting one Saturday, I left the newsroom to head back to my apartment. I was standing at my apartment door before I realized I was grabbing for keys that were not in my pocket. I had left my key on my desk, so I had to drive all the way back to the newsroom to grab them.

By the way, is there a more important thing than is as tiny and easily misplaced as a key? Seriously, I can’t keep track of them. Here’s a random list of places I’m left my keys: in between my couch cushions, under my bed, still in my car, on top of the shelf in my closet, still in the front door lock, and inexplicably in my refrigerator.

The worst part is you can’t go anywhere if you don’t have your keys. I can’t just leave my door unlocked or not drive to an assignment. I always have the fear I’ll never go anywhere ever again as I’m looking for my keys.

At this point, I feel like I’ve gotten a little off the topic, which is something I can do fairly often. Not necessarily in a conversation with actual people, but also in my mental conversations with myself.

I don’t mean the theoretical arguments I may or may not have with myself in the shower. I’m referring to the daily things most people write lists about such as groceries and things to do for the day. My thoughts always go to other things.

I should write these things down, but I never do. Why? I have pride in my mental notes, even though I’ve often proved to myself I shouldn’t be more humble about that. I guess I just forget this doesn’t work out a lot.

Let’s see, what other random thing can I tell you about myself? I might have the symptoms of a hoarder. However, it’s more likely that I’m just messy.

On my desk right now is an unorganized mess of school board agenda, maybe about three weeks of newspapers and other material I’ve gotten for assignments. I never want to throw anything away because I never know when I’ll need it.

Really deep down, I’m probably just paranoid. Not an unhealthful amount, just enough to keep me on my toes.

I treat every story like it’s my last because I’m really afraid that it’ll be my last. If I couldn’t write, I don’t know what other job I would do. I can’t think of any other redeeming skills I have for society. It’s either this or become a bum.

I’ve always enjoyed the expression of writing. The process is a different story. So much goes into a news story from the calls that never get return until deadline to the hours of work put in for an article that’s read in like five minutes.

For a column, there are more than 700 words of compelling information I have to deliver. Hopefully, this is doing the job because I really do care about what you all think. It takes a lot to put myself out there on a regular basis for the masses. I’m a somewhat reserved guy naturally, but I get over that every day to do something I’m passionate about.

Despite all of the aforementioned traits, I’m a journalist. Things don’t always make sense when looking at all the factors. That’s life, though. That’s also this column. I’ve basically been vomiting words onto a word document. Still, I think it’s important for the reader to know a little bit about me.

Be comforted in knowing that your education reporter loves to share random details and tidbits about his life. You’re all special to me, mainly because you purchased this paper, which in turn keeps me employed.

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