Back when I was a mere youth of 50. I answered an ad for a local TV station who was in need of a part time weather guy. I thought to myself, ‘Wow. That’s for me!’ I made a call, set an audition time and on that date I then jumped in my car and headed for the station.
When I arrived and had parked my vehicle in the station’s small parking lot, I entered the front door and walked up to the receptionist like I owned the place. The woman who was sitting at a desk, in one corner, looked up to me and said, ‘Yes, can I help you?’
‘Sure, I replied.’ I’m hear for an interview for the weather guy position’. I must have had a smug look on my face as the lady frowned and gave me some papers to fill out. I grabbed a pen out of a small pile of them stuck in a decorative jar and went over to a small couch that had a clear glass table in front of it. The form was pretty straightforward, asking for my name, address, et cetera, and so I had it completely filled out in no time at all.
When I walked back up to the desk, I noticed a block of inscribed wood that said the woman’s name was Angelia. I though it might then be a good time to perhaps schmooze her a bit.
‘Yes’ she replied, looking up at me.
‘I uh, I want to apologize, you know in case I was a little too abrupt or…’
‘No’, she quickly replied’, then smiled. ‘Just go on and sit down sir. Someone will be with you shortly.
Tic, Tic, Tic. Time dragged on for at least 15 minutes. Finally, a middle aged man with close cropped gray hair came out of a door and walked up to me.
‘Mr. Owen, is it?’ I smiled and nodded. I then realized belatedly that I should have stood up and shaken his hand. Duh…
‘Hi, my name is Harold Olson. I’m the broadcast manager here at KOLR 10 and if you’ll just follow me, I’ll escort you to a recording studio where we’ll have you read from a teleprompter. You know, just to get a feel for your ability to project yourself when on screen.’
I got up and then followed the man into a rather brightly lit room that had had green walls with a couple of TV studio cameras manned by two individuals that kept looking at their cell phones and what looked like a sound booth with one man behind sitting behind a plate of glass. Off to the right was a rather large teleprompter that could scroll words. I don’t mind saying that I was getting a bit nervous at the point in time.
‘Please, Mr. Owen, if you would just go stand over the ‘X’ on the floor, we can begin the audition.’ As he spoke, Harold was waving his hands in the direction of a taped X on the floor.
I ambled over to the spot, and then just stood there. I also became intensely aware of just how difficult it was to stand around, while at the center of everyone’s attention. My hands were the main problem. Should I let them hang to my sides or should I clasp them together. I was clueless and so I just shoved them deep into my pants pockets. I then began to rock very slightly, backwards and forwards. (I think I must have looked like some idiot waiting for a bus). Nobody seemed to take much notice and so I continue the rocking motion. It was at that point that Harold did finally look at me oddly..
‘Uh, Mr. Owen. All that’s going to happen today is that John over there’, he pointed to the man behind the glass, ‘will be putting some words on the teleprompter for you to read’. Harold then glanced at my waist.
‘Uh, do you think you can read those words without all that rocking motion?’ (By this point I was practically gyrating like an out of control windmill). When I saw him pointing at my hips, I quickly stood ramrod straight as fast as I could. In point of fact, you could have balanced a full cup of coffee on top of my head with no fears at all.
‘OK, then. Everyone this is a take.’ Harold yelled. Suddenly both camera men were looking through viewfinders and green text began to scroll up the teleprompter.
Here is the actual text that I was supposed to read —-
Good evening, I’m ________ and
this is your KOLR 10 weather for this
Friday night. [Now point to the wall]
[Make a sweeping with your right arm]
As you can see on the radar, we have a
goodly amount of rain now falling
over Lawrence County.
Yes. And it certainly looks
like Green County is
going to be next up at bat.
We’ll get into the nitty gritty of the forecast
after these messages.
Now, here’s how those words actually came out of my mouth…
‘Good. I’m blank and this
is the colored end weather for
(as I spoke, I was pointing all over the place and that damn nervous rocking motion had started up again, all on its own.)
‘As you can see here, uh, on this radar.’
(For some reason, my left index finger was now pointing down at my groin while my right hand pointed as it was supposed to.)
‘We’ve got a hell of a lot of water
falling over in Lawrence County. Let me tell you!’
(as if to emphasize, I now had both hands making rapid up and down motions in front of my waist simulating rainfall.) Somewhere past those bright lights, I thought I could hear someone twitter. I then totally blacked out the next few lines and ended with…
‘Well, we’ll get into the nitty gritty of that after these messages!’
As I spoke those final words, my rocking motion had accelerated with my hips moving very quickly front to back. I’m wasn’t sure how that was being interrupted by everyone there. Most just stood in place with their mouths wide open.
Needless to say. I didn’t get the job…