One of the cool things about the journalism profession is that no two days are the same.
One day, people can praise you for a story, column or photo. The next day, some crackpot at a political rally is screaming at you and calling you a “communist’’ because you don’t want to tell this daffy goofball who you are voting for.
This job is not normal. You never get to settle into a routine.
That being said, some days are crazier than others. Nov. 4 was one of the wildest days I’ve had in a while. When it was over, I couldn’t believe how much was crammed into one day. It was election day, but the elections were a part of a bigger meal on my plate. It had some fun. It had some angst. But it was lively.
So here is a diary of that day that I won’t be forgetting soon:
7:30 a.m. – After dropping my daughter and her friend off to school, I head to Mariano’s in Oak Lawn to search for a giant turkey leg for a picture we are running in a future issue of the paper. Mariano’s only has chopped up turkey legs but the friendly staff tells me to go to Fair Play on 111th Street and Western Avenue and there would be a “50-50’’ chance they would have it.
7:55 a.m. – I hear from Senator Bill Cunningham’s people. He will be campaigning at Kolmar School in Oak Lawn for a little while if I want to grab a photo. I tell his people I have one quick stop to make but don’t tell them it’s to buy a turkey leg.
8 a.m. – After the doors open at Fair Play, I don’t find an uncut turkey leg on display so someone in back bails me out and finds a couple of legs for me. I choose the bigger leg. The process takes longer than I want it to, but I got the leg, by golly. Now it’s on to see the senator!
8:20 a.m. – On 111th street in Mt. Greenwood a speed light flashes. It wasn’t me was it? I don’t think so. I don’t know, though. I doubt the paper – or the senator – will pay for the ticket if it was me.
8:30 a.m. – I arrive at Kolmar and the senator, phew, is still there. I take some photos and chat with the senator. We talk politics, weather, sports and newspapers. Then I mention the turkey leg. The Senator is all of a sudden hungry.
9:15 a.m. – I get a call from Congressman Dan Lipinski’s people telling me that he will be at the Orland Park Sportsplex at 11 a.m. I tell them I will be there and don’t mention the turkey leg.
9:30 a.m. – I head to the office for the first time and knock out some work including writing up the popular WHATIZIT? feature. To my dismay, only one couple guessed the right answer and the other contestants guessed wrong, which will mean that I’ll get some sarcasm and ridicule.
10:45 a.m. – I drop off the turkey leg at home and put it in the refrigerator. This should be the last reference to the turkey leg in this column although I may be writing about turkeys later on.
11 a.m. – I arrive at the Sportsplex and Lipinksi is on PT -- politician time -- and running late. This never surprises me. It’s hard to pin a politician down on election day. In the meantime, an old boss of mine stops by to vote and we have a nice chat about how wonderful the newspaper business is.
11:15 a.m. -- Lipinski arrives and legislator Fran Hurley is already there. They meet and greet the public. I shoot photos. The problem with the Sportsplex is that there are usually more people there to work out than vote. It makes for some comical and awkward moments when they pass by the pols.
1 p.m. – After a lunch break, I go to vote. For the first time in a long time, I have to wait for a little while. Because I’m a “communist” I won’t tell you how I voted but once I got the ballot, I checked roughly 8 million boxes to retain a bunch of judges that I never heard of. Hopefully, if that flashing light on 111th street pertained to me, one of those judges will show mercy on me.
1:30 p.m. – I go back to the office for the second time and knock off a bunch of work. With designer Kari Nelson working on overdrive, we wrap up nine of our 12 pages with the rest being reserved for election coverage.
5 p.m. – I arrive at Mother McAuley High School and get one of the few remaining spots in the main parking lot. I’m there to shoot volleyball photos for sports. McAuley and three other high-level teams are fighting it out in sectional play. Two winners go on to play each other. The two losers flood the locker room with tears after their season is over.
8:30 p.m. – Back to the office for a third time after watching all of Mother McAuley’s three-set victory over Sandburg and a portion of Lyons Townships’ three-set triumph over Marist. It was a night of incredible volleyball and drama. And yes, tears. Now back to the election…
9 p.m. – Pizza arrives. It’s an election night staple in newsrooms across the nation to serve pizza on election nights. When we talk about some of the area daily papers in the area that no longer have offices I joke that their reporters have to pick up a slice and eat it in their cars.
10:15 p.m. – I am in charge of the governor’s story so I pay attention when incumbent Patrick Quinn comes out and says he is not conceding but challenger Bruce Rauner comes out and proclaims he has won.
Midnight – I haven’t turned into a pumpkin yet, but I put the finishing touches on the Rauner story and edit Bob Rakow’s stories from the election.
12:30 a.m. – I am done for at least a few hours (there is still more editing and placement of the stories and photos to be done early Wednesday morning) and ask Regional News reporter Tim Hadac if he wants the last pieces of pizza. He declines. So I agree to take it home.
12:45 a.m. – I am driving halfway home when realize I forgot the pizza.
1 a.m. – I arrive home to find no one has taken the dog outside and put him to bed. So, I take him outside and he decides that instead of going to his room like he normally does, he wants to go into the dining room and hide under the table. At least he didn’t eat the turkey leg.
So how was your day?