Of Bars, Booze, and Bartending - Proving "Coughlin's Law" Invalid Since Feb '05

Saturday, June 14, 2008

I Already Miss Sunday Mornings.

I don't intend this to indict the service industry or its customers as a whole, but I was taken aback today when I attempted to discuss yesterday's sudden and shocking death of Tim Russert with my customers and coworkers.

With very few exceptions, the people I talked to did not know who Russert was, although a handful had heard that some random guy who used to be on TV died. After a few initial "Who?" responses, I made it a mission and just started surveying everybody I ran into at the bar. I was trying to personally debunk what was right before my eyes.

"Wow, Tim Russert, what do you think?"


"Tim Russert, NBC, Meet The Press? Died on Friday?"

"I guess. I don't know. Heard something about it, don't know who he is. But that really sucks."

It saddens me to offer this rather general but accurate characterization of the responses I received during my unscientific survey, but it surprises me as well. It's hard for me to understand how people could be so wholly uninterested in current events and the world that surrounds them to have never heard of Tim Russert. I have no idea what to make of it, but am curious if these same people will be telling me, later this fall, that they can't vote for Obama because he's a Muslim or refuses to say the pledge of allegiance or such other email spam crap garbage that dumbs us down and poisons our discourse, year after year after year.

If you've never heard of Tim Russert, I'm not so sure you should be talking about politics at all. It is such a shame that so many people never took a moment to learn something from him.

Sunday morning will feel very strange and unsettled and empty, won't it? Although he's been touchingly eulogized by many media figures, I'm not really sure it's sunk in, to be honest. He will be missed by people like me who so looked forward to those lazy Sundays, that steaming cup of coffee, and those challenging, sometimes squirmy interviews. The whole thing seems so unfair, because, especially this year, it was a joy and pleasure to watch a man so much more connected and important than I am appear boundlessly giddy while covering an historic election. The agony and pain his family must be going through just breaks my heart.

I'm not even sure I want to turn on my television tomorrow. I'm sure that there will be a warm tribute to him this Sunday morning, but I think the best way for me to personally remember him is to simply leave the TV dark.

Rest in peace, Tim. And I lift a pint to you. They say you were a big Springsteen fan, so...

I was eight years old and running with a dime in my hand
Into the bus stop to pick up a paper for my old man
I'd sit on his lap in that big old Buick and steer as we drove through town
He'd tousle my hair and say son, take a good look around
This is your hometown
This is your hometown
This is your hometown
This is your hometown

Main Street's whitewashed windows and vacant stores
Seems like there ain't nobody wants to come down here no more
They're closing down the textile mill 'cross the railroad tracks
Foreman says "these jobs are goin', boys, and they ain't coming back
To your hometown"

Bruce Springsteen, "My Hometown"

Technorati Tags:
, , ,