Daily Deadline

dailydeadlineThough I have no research to prove this, I’m certain the relentless grind of daily newspaper journalism indelibly warps the cerebellum. “Deadline” — or as former L.A. Times film critic Kevin Thomas (and former Mae West personal assistant) fondly called it, “The Motherfucker” –rigidly structures one’s experience. It keeps you cornered and firing on all cylinders. It gives every day a swift kick in the pants. It dispenses with formalities and hones a razor-like focus. Or (And?) it makes you an adrenaline-junkie rife with crippling neuroses to which you are completely blind. Deadline activates that tiny but powerful portion of the brain known as the amygdala, where our survival instinct lives. Without it, I’ve felt nauseatingly aimless. And so, I’ve redirected all my investigative powers, my need-to-be-a-know-it-all to other areas. Small claims court, for instance. And I’ve become a budding genealogist. Turns out all those cancer deaths on the Italian American side of my family in Appalachia were all due to a toxic landfill – one of the top 25 most toxic places in the U.S. — that sat just two miles from their neighborhood. That sad fact was unknown to me until my buy-out. See? There is an upside to the death of newspaper journalism! More self-knowledge! Yay.