They come perking from the Lantern or Bowling Green or Otterbein, excited to begin a career in journalism. I watch them wander the halls as I once did, searching for the bathroom, the reverse telephone books or the vending machines. They whisper in the corners about the other side of the building. One girl went over there once and never came back, she heard. Another returned, pale-faced and trembling.
They’ve all read his quick, smart-ass columns about misguided politicians or department store cashiers, and they fallen for him. Hard core. His devoted fan base of twenty-something females dream about the day they may run into him at the water cooler, or better yet, speak to him in a real-life co-worker-type situation — or even sicker, still — they dream of the day they, too, might become legitimate journalists.
Then the company picnic happens, or, for the really brave ones, there is a quick sneak by his office to get a peak. Either way, the inevitable crash is painful. A coming of age. Something every 22-year-old woman must go through.
Ladies, listen to me. Dan Williamson? Not as hot in real life.
Look at him thirty years ago, in his dark-collared dress shirt, smirking in the flattering light with the artsy blurried background. Sadly, since that misleading head shot was taken (and subsequently printed week after week) the face has engorged a bit. Hair and teeth have fallen out. Ailments have set in. When they find out, everything changes. Suddenly, in the aftermath, they no longer want to have his babies. They second-guess everything about their lives, their careers, their crash-diets, their marriages.
And no matter what older and wiser women advise, the cycle continues. One broken spirit after another. Until the head shot is updated, I fear the worse for each bright-eyed doe who walks into the news room.
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