Opinion

Reporter’s life takes its toll

When I took a job at the Patriot about two years ago, I could not have imagined all of the strange effects it would have on my life.

From the food I pop in my mouth to the way I look, sometimes I barely even recognize who I’ve become.

Stress is not only a part of the reporter’s job — it is the reporter’s job. Pressure is what makes us great, and we often pick up weird habits to cope with the nail-biting, head-scratching, nervous-deadline hours.

About a month after starting my job here in Bremerton I picked up my first pack of glorious Big Red gum.

When I had two hours to write four stories I realized soon enough that chomping down on a little cinnamon glob helped ease the pressure.

Then it was chocolate.

Another addiction, worst than the last.

Working in an office with four women, I only had to reach about five feet to find a morsel.

The rush of sugar bumped my energy level to the point my fingers could keep the pace of my brain on the keys.

Next it was cigarettes.

Yes, those beautiful death enhancers.

I smoked for a year straight, picking up a stinky habit from high school.

A great way to take a break, I thought.

But I always felt like I had been run over by a car after puffing.

I quit on Jan. 1, and haven’t looked back, except for, well ... another addiction.

Coffee.

At first I buffered it with cream and sugar.

Then it got worse — black, only.

One, two, three cups became the perfect charm.

That was a habit I can credit to my editor Celeste.

I hated coffee until she offered to make me a batch of her husband’s thick- as-mud variety.

I was hooked on the brown-colored boost of lightning.

I’ve changed in other ways too. My hair has somehow grown longer, just over the ears. Although I’ve had my share of hairstyles in between, I started out this job with nearly a shaved head.

I went from a glasses-clad man to a contact-lens subscriber. It was about time I traded in my window-framed view of the universe for some unhindered vision.

A glance at my cheeks will reveal another phenomenon — sideburns.

Yes, a tribute to the classic rock of the 1970s, if you will.

Additionally, I traded in my home phone for a cell phone.

Cheaper, I thought, until I racked up a $140 phone bill when I exceeded my minutes.

A great perk of being wireless.

What’s the next big change?

I’m a little scared to find out.

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