Tinfoil can solve your problem
Leada DeVaney, Hartselle Enquirer
In case it had slipped your mind, Oct. 6-12 is National Newspaper Week.
National Newspaper week is a time each year when the role of newspapers is celebrated and information about what we do is disseminated to our readers.
That sounds awful boring, though. As in most such celebrations (I doubt National Hot Dog Week draws a crowd), the only people who really care about it are those involved in that industry.
I'd rather tell a newspaper story. And it all related to tin foil.
I began my career as a reporter pretty much straight out of college. My boss said he hired me because I had no bad habits. This basically meant I didn't know enough to question anything, but it did get me a job.
I started as a reporter, then was named news editor and later managing editor. The fact that it was me and one other reporter for a majority of the time didn't matter – I was an editor and I had an office.
I was sitting in that office one day when a perfectly normal looking man came in and sat down. He wasn't with any of our other employees and no one had brought him back to my office, he just meandered in.
"I have a story for you," he said.
In the years since this time, I have come to realize that the phrase "I have a story for you" is a recipe for disaster. Normal people do not call and say "I have a story for you." That's a phrase used strictly by the not-so-sane.
He proceeded to tell me how aliens were coming to his house and invading his brain each night.
"They hear everything I say," he said, not cracking a smile. "They are listening right now."
Once I had looked around to see if there were any hidden cameras, I realized this man was serious.
"Um, I'm not real sure what I can do for you on this one," I said. "Have you been over to the sheriff's office? I think they have an anti-alien unit for this sort of thing."
That was all it took. His eyes lit up and he asked for directions. I pointed him to the sheriff's office, which just so happened to be across the street.
Once I had got him out of the office, I called a friend at the sheriff's office.
"I'm sending a live one your way," I said. "He thinks aliens are monitoring his brain waves."
"Oh, we get those all the time," she said. "We tell them to put tin foil up in their windows. For some reason, that solves the problem."
And that's when I learned the most important newspaper role of all: providing information on tin foil. It was a newspaper lesson I learned well.