|I'm somewhere on the other side.|
Among the pieces I've written for Next Avenue was a darkly humorous essay about the travails of trying to find a job when you're considered over the hill. It was later reprinted by Forbes and some other outlets.
That was December 2015. About six weeks ago, I received an email with the eye-catching subject line reading, Interview Request - The Associated Press.
Well, hell, what did AP want to do with me? And why wasn't UPI interested in me, too?
|I was hoping the reporter looked like this.|
It took a few minutes of decision-making on my part. Several years earlier, an op-ed I had written for the New York Post led a radio interview with a local talk show host whose name escapes me. It lasted only a few minutes and, frankly, came off to me as rather dull. I didn't have much to say beyond what I had written. Would history repeat itself into unconsciousness?
On the other hand, this was an AP reporter wanting to talk to me -- from Chicago yet! That would be quite a feather in my fedora, not to mention being an icebreaker at the next cocktail party I was invited to.
Thirty minutes later our interview began. The next time I glanced at the clock, almost an hour had passed. This Soergel fellow (for he is a Fellow of Economics of Aging and Work at the University of Chicago) was good at getting information out of me -- information, at times, I had forgotten until then. It was definitely a more lively chat than my radio slog.
For once, when my wife came home and asked, "How was your day?", I actually had something interesting to share. Too, I mentioned it to our daughter during phone call later that evening. But since the invitation the cocktail party never arrived, I gradually forgot about it.
|After my wife saw this, she wanted|
Then, out of the blue, I heard from Andrew Soergel again. The piece was ready to roll -- and, oh yeah, would it be possible to have one of the AP photographers take a few pictures of me to go along with it?
Now, the last time I had stepped in front of a professional still photographer was during my character modelling days some 15 years ago. It was mostly stock photo stuff, used in greeting cards and print ads for various businesses. How my face didn't drive away customers, I dunno.
Unlike deciding whether or not to take part in the interview, this was a slam dunk no-brainer. For once, I wouldn't be required to look like an idiot. I only hoped it wouldn't come to me naturally.
|I was hoping the photographer looked|
On Wednesday, AP photographer Richard Drew swung by for the session, both in my living room and along the East River. Drew was friendly and professional -- which makes sense, since he's been doing this for a living for 50 years.
But what really floored me was that he was one of the photographers at Bobby Kennedy's assassination and took the unforgettable "Falling Man" photo at the World Trade Center on 9/11. And here he was now, taking my picture.
Like I say, wildly unexpected.
Yesterday, the piece went live on the Associated Press site, among others. Andrew Soegrel did a fine writing job -- straightforward, factual, concise -- while Richard Drew chose three photos to illustrate it. Even with what appear to be "casual" shots, you can tell when they're they work of pros, and Drew is up there with the best of them. All in all, an interesting experience.
I'm still waiting for the cocktail party invitation, though.