Skip to main content

Deadline Day

            I’ll tell you what, there’s quite a difference between working a 12-hour day when you’re 52 and doing it when you’re 22. What the hell.

            By noon my feet start to resemble the Queen Mother’s stuffed into those low-heeled pumps she used to wear. God rest her. You can see the strap marks from my flip-flops by 1:30. I’m sure it doesn’t help that I’ve taken to bringing in salty snacks on deadline day.

            I’m copy editing all day, so my entire day revolves around finding a comma, or lack thereof, in the wrong place. Not to mention all those hyphenated words that need fixing. I know this doesn’t sound important to you, but to me, it’s titanic.

            Anyway, after scouring the screen for hours, getting up only to use the bathroom or to get a fresh glass of water to help with the bloat, my eyes are shot.

            It was bad tonight. By 7:30 p.m. all the words began to smoosh together and everything was unintelligible. I would read and reread paragraph after paragraph hoping to make some sense out of the story. It’s absolutely no reflection on the writers. It’s a side effect of a post-menopausal woman trying to work a long day.

            Thankfully, I work with married men who are familiar with the humor that only comes from a good woman. When I get loopy and start laughing hysterically at a cover story, I hear “get a grip Berry.” Sometimes it brings me back into focus. Sometimes it makes me laugh harder.

            There are times when I’m this close to completely losing it on deadline day. The words are like gibberish to me and the photos are absurd. Captions read…. “The bucolic scene offers a view of the stone wall outlining the organic farm where they make cheese from the curds of wild sheep’s milk….” or some such business.

            And there are lulls. There are a couple of hanks of time when I’m waiting on the next story to be read. That’s when I check Facebook or dig through my lunch bag to see if I’ve eaten every last bite. Co-workers normally use this time to take a walk. Then again, they also take yoga classes and stopped eating trans fats years ago. I prefer to stay seated just in case somebody forgets a period at the end of a sentence. I wouldn’t want to miss anything.

            There’s a sweet tradition we have at the end of deadline day. The stalwart group that puts the final pages together gathers around the art director’s chair and someone reads the captions and headlines aloud from the front pages. It’s an honor to read the last line. By this point we’re all ready to wipe the sweat from our brow and go home to our respective families. Or to the nearest liquor store.

            We coddle and nurture the words along all week and on Thursday, we have to go through the pangs of childbirth until the print edition of the paper springs forth from our collective loins.

            But like in real childbirth, by the time it’s all said and done you’ve forgotten how hard the labor was and you’re proud as hell of that baby.

            My especial object is to help the poor; the rich can help themselves. – Joseph Pulitzer


Popular posts from this blog

I might need a price check

So my husband Chris works three days a week in America, and I’m trying not to take this personally.
He’s commuting Monday mornings on the 6:30 ferry over to Cape Cod, where he works at an upholstery shop in Hyannis, the Mattydale of Cape Cod, for all you Syracuse readers. I stay here and hold down the fort, cooking up a cocktail of frozen pizzas and mac n’ cheese weeknights for my poor Danny. Chris comes back late Thursday night, all giddy over toilet paper prices and quotes on cheaper rent.
No, no, no, and more no I say. I can’t possibly leave all this off-season quiet and high-priced laundry detergent. There’s no convincing me to leave no matter how many times Chris points out that there’s a Trader Joe’s “over there.”
I want to stay here until I miraculously win on one of those $5 scratchers and can buy my own house here. The difference being that I feel confident that I will someday scratch my way to freedom while Chris thinks we’d be smarter to look into a nice rental “over there.…

Getting well takes baby steps

So I’ve had what you could call a case of the pneumonia. It was not pleasant. And to top it off it happened in San Antonio, Texas. Like I wasn’t sweating before the fever.
I was there to see my niece Michelle, who by the way kept asking me, “Are you going to write about this?” which is funny because she’s a writer too. I naturally said, “Oh no, of course not.” And here we are.
Thinking back, the best part of that trip teeters between meeting my two great-nephews, Oliver and Isaac, and having a couple of beers with their Yaya, my sister, who I haven’t had beers with in decades. Like I said, it’s a toss-up. There’s also the fact that I got to spend time with my niece’s husband Alex. He’s a hardcore military guy. He teaches other military guys how to be military policemen. I’m not going to gamble on writing anything about him. He’s from Wisconsin though, which I like. And he likes to cook, which I also like.
I thought to myself before I ever left my nice cocoon of Martha’s Vineyard to tra…

Who's got the soap?

I’m wondering at what age I’m allowed to hire a personal care attendant, covered by insurance of course. I haven’t reached my toenails in two and half years and the other day in the shower I seriously considered whether or not it was worth it to soap up below the waist. It hurts when I go anywhere past my kneecaps.
I’m okay with gray hair; that’s been coming in since I was in my 30s and I could still reach my ankles. It’s the burgeoning mountain under my man-sized T-shirts, just below my sagging breasts, that really gets to me. I want to know when exactly I stopped looking like I was 20, because it feels like yesterday. I look in the mirror strictly from the shoulders up these days.
It’s not completely depressing. I know there are about a billion other women in the same boat I’m in. I love the women who wear whatever the hell they want. Doesn’t matter if they’ve got those top-heavy grandma arms or busted veins mapping their legs. I say go for it ladies. I’m gonna get there someday.…