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Column: THE GRAY LINE TOUR

Leonard Gray / L’Observateur / May 11, 1998

VOLCANO? WHAT VOLCANO? MY IGNORANCE OF THE NEWS

For a reporter I can be woefully ignorant of current events, much to the despair of my wife.

She prides herself on her knowledge of current events, being a People magazine reader and avid reader of Newsweek, as well. On the other hand,she cannot stand to read newspapers because the ink stains her hands.

I find myself, as a reporter for a community newspaper, so immersed in local events it’s often to the exclusion of virtually everything else going on. It’s rare, indeed, for events to percolate into my battered brain unlessit has something to do with the River Parishes. Anything else, I’mgenerally not interested.

It seems to somehow anger and upset my wife, feeling as she does that she and I cannot discuss the news of the day like normal people because I haven’t been keeping up at all.

A case in point came to my attention a couple of days ago when my wife happened to mention the Northern Ireland peace agreement. I wasskimming through Newsweek’s letters to the editor when I spotted one where the reader took the magazine to task for featuring “Seinfeld” on its cover instead of the Ireland agreement. I asked my wife, “what Irelandagreement?” Up until a couple of days ago, I simply had not heard about it, despite the fact I see two daily newspapers every day, see a few minutes of CNN every morning and, as I said, skim Newsweek every week. If it hadnothing to do with my work, I skimmed right past it.

My wife was horrified to realize the depth and breadth of my ignorance of world events. She long ago came to the understanding I had virtually nointerest in People magazine celebrity news. She will fill me in on acelebrity whose name I don’t recognize when I ask. It doesn’t happen veryoften.

She’s the news junkie in my family. She watches at least an hour of CNNdaily, watches the local and network TV news every day. Most of the time,I’m in such a rush in the morning to get to work, I don’t watch TV and almost never watch local TV news. By the time I get home from work,sometimes after a late meeting, I’m too tired to apply my brain to comprehending the news of the day.

Once, when a volcano erupted in Mexico, I shocked my wife a week or so later when I came out with “What volcano?” I’m also woefully ignorant of most “hit” TV shows. She watches her soapopera tape and a handful of network shows. I watch an occasional movie.I’ve never seen any number of these programs. I haven’t watched a”Seinfeld” in at least two years and I couldn’t be bothered with the series finale.

As to world, national and state events, unless it impacts this area, most of the time I can’t be bothered with it.

Am I proud of my ignorance? No, I’m not. But it also doesn’t distress me.So I didn’t know about Ireland. So I didn’t know about the volcano. Whatdoes that have to do with Reserve or Norco or Convent, anyway?

Leonard Gray is a reporter for L’Observateur.

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