July 27, 2017

Let’s hear it for those who do

People tell me I appear relaxed and comfortable speaking in front of a group.

Appearances, as they say, can be deceiving. Headaches pound my brain when I get up in front of people to speak. My stomach churns and then ties itself into a knot. It takes every piece of effort that I have to push all that back down deep inside and then try to appear conversational.

As a writer and photographer I’m most comfortable at a keyboard or looking through the lens of a camera. I’m not comfortable in front of people. I’m not a social person. I’ve spent my life as an observer and observing is what I do best.

Once or twice a week I receive calls from radio shows wanting an interview over something I wrote for Capitol Hill Blue, my political news web site. I always decline, saying reporters should report the news not be part of it. I don’t much care for talk radio. It seems to me little more than a haven for demagogues with little interest in passing on any real, useful, information to listeners.

And I’m amazed when someone asks me to speak before their club, group or organization. Why me? I’m just someone who was lucky enough to spend most of his life doing something he loved, nothing more. Why not listen to the rescue squad volunteer who has saved countless lives or the teacher who prepared many youngsters for the real world or the farmer who helps feed that world? They have a far greater impact on society and, for the most part, they do it without praise, without recognition and without someone saying “hey, we’d like to hear about what you do.”

An electric company lineman who climbs into a mechanized bucket to reconnect a megavolt power line in a driving thunderstorm faces far more danger than I ever did. So does a State Trooper who pulls over a car with no license plates on a winding country road late and night and approaches that vehicle with no idea what he or she faces. Does the adrenaline race? Are they scared? These are people with interesting stories to tell.

I enjoy what I do and am pleasantly surprised that people seem to enjoy reading what I write or looking at my photographs. But I’m a watcher of people who do and it is those who do who are the ones we should be telling us about their far more interesting lives.

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