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Dorky conversations are my favorite

I’ve been rewatching a series called “The Newsroom.” The show focuses on TV journalists, mainly a broadcast journalist and his team based in Atlanta, Georgia. 
In the pilot episode, the show begins with main character Will McAvoy giving a response to a question from a lecture hall in college. His response in the show, and frankly in real life, went viral. From there, the show turns to an actual television show, which for a journalist like myself, is quite intriguing. 
Through thick and thin, sickness and health, parties and funerals, the news and the show must go on. In every episode, the characters share one abiding trait: Their lives are entirely devoted to “the news.” Certainly their personal lives come into play, but it remains evident they have structured their careers around something they feel is meaningful. Their work gives them purpose, and it shows. 
I like to say it is rare to find something in life, anything to provide purpose. But really, it just takes people different amounts of time to discover what that is. For many, like myself, friends and family are high on the list. 
Some say work, or a profession, is more difficult to find as much purpose in. Again, being in the news myself, I am surrounded by and work with, on a daily basis men and women who have found precisely that. Purpose and meaning in their work. Our staff at the newspaper is incredibly dedicated and caring. And we often write about people who love what they do. New business owners, passionate coaches and players, and enthusiastic churchgoers, to name a few. And those are just people I spoke to this week. 
I tell nearly everyone I come into contact with to let me know if there’s something they want in the paper. They often do. 
My sister called me Monday evening to talk about a city council article she was working on. We talked for more than an hour and a half. She tried to apologize and said she felt “dorky” for bringing up her concerns. I reminded her that this is my life. Those “dorky” conversations, I have each and every day. 
In the same light, I mentioned how, outside of Waseca County, I sometimes struggle with conversations. “Struggle” isn’t the right word. I just don’t have very much to talk about. My life is very centered and I like it that way. I don’t get caught up in national news or anything of the sort. For example, when someone walks into the office with a few extra minutes, which happens often, I generally have very good conversations that last anywhere from five minutes to thirty minutes, or hours if the individual happens to be Dave Zika. Some of those folks I’ve only just met for the first time, but because of our shared interests, here in Waseca County, we can talk and talk and talk. 
Those conversations give me great satisfaction, purpose and meaning. 
In “The Newsroom” the topics covered are mainly national. The show finds a big topic–often a classic conservative or liberal cause–and localizes it. They present a person or group local to the Atlanta of the show and depict a controversy or difficulty which, outside the world of television, applies to hundreds of thousands or potentially millions of people in similar situations. 
In one instance they interview a 95-year-old woman who can’t vote because her state passed a voter ID law stating only persons with valid driver licenses can cast ballots. Being 95, this woman couldn’t vote. 
In another instance a politician who is interviewed turns out not to understand the term “debt ceiling.” He makes a statement during an interview that reveals his ignorance; when the statement sparks a flurry of embarrassing questions, he leaves abruptly. 
The debt ceiling, the episode teaches, is simply the amount of money the U.S. can borrow to pay bills. When we as a country need more money, the “debt ceiling” is voted on and raised in order to borrow more money to continue paying debts. 
According to information shared during the show, many people confuse the debt ceiling with the national debt, and so believe the persistent controversies about “government shut-downs” are about debt. In reality, a higher debt ceiling just allows the U.S. to pay its bills. 
In this case, the “face” the TV show put on the issue was the ignorant politician.  
A family friend of someone I know well is going through dementia/alzeihmers. Another friend of mine, whom I’ve known since a very young age, is going through the same. 
Often, as I speak with my friend, he has a hard time finishing sentences. He just can’t remember words. Twice he’s broken down and cried because he just couldn’t get the words out. The last few times, I told him he had nothing to be sorry for and however I said it or whatever else I said, must have worked, because I felt like I saw the pain cease for a moment. He continued his story. I know this friend well enough that oftentimes, when he forgets the words, I know what he intends to say. I try to allow him to finish it himself, hoping that it helps. 
I really just work to be patient. I love and care for this friend and I want to cherish the memories I have and get the most out of the interactions we continue to have. 
My other friend, whose family member is going through dementia, shares stories with me about their experiences. It’s good to have someone to talk to about these things. 
People should always be kind. 
When a person is mean or expresses anger toward me, I try very hard not to mirror those emotions. I do this for a number of reasons. First, I like to treat people as I would like to be treated. Second, returning anger or malice with equally negative energy is often seen as justification for the original actions. 
Put simply, I prefer to spread positive energy. 
Speaking of positive energy, I would like to congratulate the Waseca boys’ basketball team on an incredible run to the state tournament. Good luck Wednesday night and on. 
And speaking of negative energy, I have been battling health difficulties for the majority of the past two weeks. Along with that, a few members of the staff have been out sick. Like a true journalist, I have powered through, just simply from home. I appreciate folks' patience these past two weeks as the office hours have not been consistent. 
“Most people spend their life trying not to be the greater fool; we toss him the hot potato, we dive for his seat when the music stops. The greater fool is someone with the perfect blend of self-delusion and ego to think that he can succeed where others have failed. This whole country was made by greater fools.”
― Aaron Sorkin, The Newsroom. 


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