Free Counter
ab scissors

Tales from a small town

Short stories about life in a small town. Non-fiction. Great reading.

Monday, February 06, 2006

the media circus

So this isn't about politics or erotica. This is about a slice of life from my hometown.

This is about the media frenzy surrounding Ben Roethlisberger. In case you're not from around here, the Pittsburgh Steelers just won the Superbowl, and the guy who led them there, is our hometown hero, Ben Roethlisberger.

I think the guy is great. I really do. But this is an observation, not about Ben, but about how people want to cash in on his fame, given they're from the same city he is.

So me and my family are at BW3s on SuperBowl Sunday. We reserved seats about 2 weeks in advance (actually, my wife did) and we were told we had to get in about 2 hours before kickoff to secure our seats.

We get there, and I immediately start swilling down Guiness draft. I love that stuff - and their wings; I love those, too.

Next thing you know, the satellite trucks start rolling in, blocking out the sun. The reporters, the cameramen, the producers.

Our table seemed to be the center of gravity for the media types to camp out and scope out the scene. They weren't at our table, but they were all in surrounding tables - which gave me a direct perspective.

There was a news producer, directly behind us. He was tall, thin, well dressed and young. He had his nose buried in his laptop computer, constantly studying - something.

I could tell by the drinks he was ordering, how picky he was about how they were made, and how worried he looked that his precise orders wouldn't be taken seriously, that if he would have been at a cat show - or some type of fashion-related event, he would have been far more into it. But that's what made it funny.

All these jocks from the bar, are converging at the producer's table, regailing him with "Big Ben" stories - you know, their childhood hi-jinx, funny antecdotes, that type of thing. Guess what? Mr. Producer could care less. He didn't even look up from his laptop. These guys are pouring their hearts out about their special connection to Ben Roethlisberger, and the producer never so much as made eye contact with these guys, as his way of telling just how bored he was with the whole event.

The only time this producer acted like he cared, was when this hottie reporter of his, needed someone to hold her purse, while she did on-camera reports. He looked so natural holding her purse, you forgot that he was a guy holding a woman's purse in a sports bar during the SuperBowl, where the sports bar just so happens to be located in a town where the quarterback played his highschool ball. Unreal.

Then, there was the reporter I'll refer to as "Shan-nay-nay." (You know, the character from the sit-com Martin?)

Shan-nay-nay walks in with her camera man, approaches one of the waitresses, and demands (not asks, but demands) to see the owner. The waitress asks her, "Did you want to see Fritz or Mike?"

"Are they both the owner?"

"No. Fritz is the manager."

"Did I say I wanted to speak to Fritz?"

"I'll get Mike right away."

Mike comes up. She points her finger at his chest, with her finger so close, it's almost touching.

"Let me make this real clear, real quick: I want a table for me and my camera man, I don't want to share with anyone else, and I want a good view of the TVs, or me and him are leaving. Got that?"

"Yes ma'am, right this way! We've got one last table that fits your description."

My curiosity got the better of me, and I had to look where he took her and her cameraman. He put her in a table for 2 so small, it wouldn't hold a school book, directly under the big-screen TV. She had to look directly up to see the screen. He then summons a waitress over to get a drink order for her table, then walks away. Damn that was funny. (Of course the cameraman is rolling his eyes in apology the whole time Shan-nay-nay is bossing people around. That's what made it priceless.)

The hottie reporter: all of these jocks are crowding her, shamelessly putting the moves on her, and she's just eating it up. While they're each vying for her attention, she's seductively brushing her bangs out of her eyes, giggling with approval at each attempt to be the funniest guy, or most spritual connection with Ben, or whatever.

The cameramen were walking back and forth with their bright lights on their cameras, panning the crowd at the eatery. They didn't even have their cameras on their shoulders - they were just walking around with their cameras against their hips, or sometimes on their shoulders, but not with the lens against the eye.

My 9 year old daughter: "This is cool, daddy!" It was.

When we got home, we watched the reporters. It was funny, because their on-air persona, sure is different from what you get when you see them on the air. The blonde hottie? Strictly business. Shan-nay-nay? Demure and wide-eyed. Funny.