I used to swear like a sailor at work. Swearing was a lot more acceptable in a newsroom environment 30 years ago. The flood of four-letter words could be endless. Despite having an extensive vocabulary, my language was more than a little salty. My tongue has been a source of great embarrassment as it was today.
I was sitting on the assignment desk dealing with a balky email. Journal Broadcasting has decided that Gmail is the route to go for handling station email over Outlook. For the past 2 days the system has barred me from being able to get into the email which goes to the assignment desk. It's been restored by our IT guy on more than a couple of occasions and then goes back into failure mode. About mid-morning I realized that I had suddenly stopped getting emails into my account altogether. A GD, F this S followed.
Not more than 15 feet away from my perch is a conference room with paper thin walls. As Andrew our 6 p.m. producer giggled at my short rant the GM stuck her head out of the door and asked, "Is there anything I can help you with?" I meekly bowed my head and responded, "No." I had forgotten about a manager's meeting that included some corporate suits that was going on in there. Andrew proceeded to snicker even harder.
I apologized to folks as they moved past my desk for the outburst. One of the corporate guys looked at me and said, "It wouldn't be a newsroom without a little colorful language!" I was still embarrassed by my bad behavior.
But that little incident pales in comparison to two remarkably similar verbal miscues. It was probably 1985 or 1986. The sports department had their own office on the first floor at WDAF where the graphic arts folks sit now. I had come downstairs from the newsroom in the middle of the evening and let forth with a spew of obscenities aimed at sports director Frank Boal. It was the foulest of the foul and as I turned the corner into the office there sat Frank sporting a shit eating grin with two Catholic priests looking at me with the widest of eyes. I did a quick 180 and excused myself.
Fast forward to a decade later. The station was undergoing some renovations and sports had been stuck in a horrid spot behind the studios next to the garage. I was back working at WDAF, my third tenure at the station. I once again headed downstairs at mid-evening and started with a foul tirade aimed at Frank. Now don't misunderstand me, Frank could go toe to toe with anyone when it came to blue language, so he was an aficionado of cussing.
This time I came through the doorway to find him sitting in discussion with two guys, both wearing polo shirts with the FCA logos. That FCA stands for Fellowship of Christian Athletes. I turned beat red, apologized, turned and retreated. I never learn.