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An Apology, Of Sorts

The show must go on.

I’ve heard it said hundreds (if not thousands) of times: during and after Katrina and Rita; after the Twin Towers fell; after Sandy Hook; after Mickey Shunick; after the death of my mother; and, now, after the Boston Marathon bombings.

I was in the process of helping our assistant business manager move a desk from her old office into her new office (after disassembling and removing the (perfectly fine) desk that was in the new office) when I received a news alert on my phone about the attack.  Initially, it was “Explosion Near Finish Line of Boston Marathon”, so my thoughts did NOT immediately go to “terrorism”; I thought it would have been equipment malfunction or something similar.

Within minutes, the headline was updated to “Series of Explosions Rock Boston Marathon”.  That is when I realized that it was probably an attack.

With less than 2 hours before I was to go on air, I was still mid-way into the task at hand, so I didn’t have time to start reading the reports of the incident.  Other than a few new headlines, I didn’t log on to my computer to get news until Steve left the control room, which was at 2:58, just minutes before my air shift started.

The first images I saw were the videos of the runners coming across the finish line, with the blasts “appearing” in the background.  The runners’ heads turning, one runner falling down, looks of confusion, and then people running.  Not just the runners, but almost everyone running.  Those who weren’t running were just kind of standing there, confused, shocked.  Some were running away from the blast, but many, including the cameraman (person) were running towards the blast and the injured.

The second image was the one that did me in:  it was a (slightly) aerial view of the blast site, after the paramedics and volunteers and victims were gone.  As the camera looked down onto the sidewalk and the street, it was the colors that I noticed:  White papers strewn about the sidewalk and the street; orange “blocks” (I think that they are cushions used by paramedics); spots of blue which, upon closer inspection, I realized were used surgical gloves; and of course, red.  Lots of red.

Being on the radio is a (normally) fun job:  you get to play music all day, talk about concerts and festivals, and give away prizes.  You get to work with very creative and talented people, you get to meet so many wonderful people (and a few jerks, of course), people bring food for you…. it’s just (normally) a fun job – - – until you get a day like yesterday.

In this industry, you have to be “on”, all the time.  You have to be the “constant” in people’s lives.  Radio has always been a type of escape for people, whether they realize it or not.  Sure, you get your weather update and get to hear your kids’ names on the Birthday List, but radio, as a whole, is an escape:  the familiar voices, day in and day out, the music we lose ourselves in, the information that helps us plan our day – - – it’s something that we know that we can ‘turn on’ and it will be there, helping us to escape, if only for a little while.  Well, here is where the “apology” comes in:

I’m sorry.  I feel like I failed in my duties yesterday.  Once I got on the air and started seeing images and reading reports and watch news footage, I was no longer “on”.  It pained me to give updates because the news of the bombing wasn’t getting any better.  It was a struggle for me to announce the final 2 winning secretaries for the banquet.  (Don’t get me wrong:  I am happy that people will be able to attend our banquet!  I just felt weird (with what was going on in Boston) doing any kind of giveaway.)  It was so much of a struggle, I even called my boss and told him “I don’t feel right giving stuff away today”.  And that is when he said ‘it’.

He said a few things before he said ‘it’, like “well, the rules of the contest say that we have to give away those seats today” and “I think that people will understand that we have to do it” and “be honest when you go on the air – tell them that you are uncomfortable doing it.. they know you are human” and a few other things, and then he said ‘it’:  “The show must go on.”

The show must go on.

When I searched for that phrase, the first result was from Wikipedia, and it read as follows:

The show must go on” is a well-known phrase in show business, meaning that even in the presence of troubles or difficulties, the show must still continue for the waiting patrons.[1] This reflects upon the fact that the patrons themselves are likely to have problems as well, and the show is something that transcends and absolves the sufferings of reality.

 

As I read those words this morning, I now realize how important it is for “us” to keep going.  After 9/11, it took us a while to get back into the ‘swing of things’.  Now I know how important it is, how imperative it is for us to get back into the swing of things.  First of all, we can’t let terrorism stop us from living our lives; we can’t let those cowards think that they can be effective.  Second, we (people in entertainment) have a duty to be there for you, to be that escape, to be normal
People comment to me all the time “your job must be a lot of fun!”……  and my answer is “yes, it’s loads of fun”.  It should be “Yes, my job is usually, loads of fun”, because yesterday wasn’t one of those days.
(Via Wiki)

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