OUR WORK HERE: If you're into collectibles, this is our first column in our 38th year at the Press-Telegram.
We thought we'd be dead by now, but no, we keep waking up in the morning, putting on our suit and tie, grabbing our briefcase and walking out to the sedan, waving good-morning to all the other working folk on the block and motoring off to the plant to type some more words.
Didn't we ever want to do something else? We weren't born a fully formed journalist. We tried other things first. We worked at our granddad's tuxedo shop for a while, painted some houses and fences, cooked steaks at a fancy Naples steakhouse, taught algebra, worked at an electronics store.
Did we always want to work for newspapers? Were we one of those kids who started his own paper and mimeographed it and distributed it around the neighborhood? No. We wanted to be a marine biologist, a cowboy, an astronaut, a farmer, a miner for a heart of gold, a boulevardier, a race-car driver (in those days we were skinny enough to get into a race car).
A college counselor dashed all our hopes after reviewing our grades and administering an aptitude test. Our math skills were too anemic to even qualify as a cowboy, nevermind a marine biologist or an astronaut. He recommended we pursue a career in house-painting or as a cook in a steakhouse. Failing that, maybe journalism.
Fear of failure led us to journalism, and the years went by.
Don't we ever get tired of doing the same job every day for 37 years?
Of course. We hanker for more stability in our job. We wish we knew what was going to happen in advance each day.
We have been sent to Hawaii to live for a week on $5 a day, calling in our stories from a pay phone. The very day we returned from that assignment, we were dispatched to the Playboy mansion to cover the unveiling of Dorothy Stratten as the 1980 Playmate of the Year.
We have been sent to Iowa to cover the farm crisis and have covered the Rose Bowl.
We have flown to Texas a couple of times: Once to interview a guy who killed his family, another time for a reason we're still unclear about. All we remember is a bunch of us had an awful lot of margaritas on Sixth Street in Austin, spent a few hours fleeing undercover DEA agents, and the artist who accompanied us wound up in the hospital with a new and strange disease that had to be treated by doctors and nurses wearing space suits.
We spent the night in the desert in a motorhome covering the landing of the first space shuttle.
We had breakfast with the Grateful Dead at the US Festival, again living out of a motorhome in the desert.
Once, we were ordered to go down to Mexico in pursuit of kidnappers.
As part of our job we've flown in blimps and Learjets, piloted a small plane, and once we drove a Hovercraft.
With economic times curtailing our globetrotting, stories have come to us, or we've had to make a big deal out of nothing. A possum walked on our head while we were sleeping. Got a lot of mileage out of that.
When we try to fix something around the house, it invariably ends in A) a disaster and, B) a column.
We came to work one morning with no hope of an idea for a subject. We accidentally set off a fire alarm with a big case of Girl Scout cookies, which caused an evacuation of several floors of the building, so that helped in terms of coming up with an idea for the day.
Now, we're writing in the cloud, monkeying around with Facebook and Twitter (and Pinterest and Instagram) as well as learning a new system for the next era of your Press-Telegram. The future seems as foggy as our past some days.
But we look forward to it as we always have. Most times, we're real glad we didn't become a cowboy.
And, despite having just completed 37 years here, we still keep an open mind for a new career someplace - as long as it involves possums, blimps and trips to Hawaii.