Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Is that some kind of shorthand?

I've been a reporter for the better part of a dozen years, and there is one question I get asked over and over.

Is that some kind of shorthand?

Now, as part of my job, I regularly get to cover thrill-a-minute zoning and city council meetings, meet a host of state legislators, lieutenant governor candidates, and even some interesting people, but almost all of the questions about my job boil down to someone watching me scribble furiously in one of my pocket-sized notebooks and asking the above-mentioned question.

And the answer is typically that it is kind of some kind of shorthand. Mostly, I use my own made-up abbreviations combined with a natural tendency for aggressively bad penmanship. My answer doesn't always fill my interview subjects with the utmost confidence (although I typically play up the abbreviations and play down the bad penmanship).

"Well, as long as you can figure it out, I guess," was the most recent response I got.

Rest assured, figure it out I usually do, although there has been the odd case or two when a word I've tried to decipher turned out to be Oreo cookie crumbs. I have occasionally tried the typing my notes directly into the computer approach when I've been talking to people on the phone, but that ends up being even more indecipherable than the handwriting. At least with the handwriting, I have years of learned bad penmanship patterns to fall back on, while the typewritten notes usually look like a horde of angry monkeys have gotten hold of my keyboard.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bush is forever saying that democracies do not invade other countries and start wars. Well, he did just that. He invaded Iraq, started a war, and killed people. What do you think? Why has bush turned our country from a country of hope and prosperity to a country of belligerence and fear.
Our country is in debt until forever, we don't have jobs, and we live in fear. We have invaded a country and been responsible for thousands of deaths.
The more people that the government puts in jails, the safer we are told to think we are. The real terrorists are wherever they are, but they aren't living in a country with bars on the windows. We are.

7:18 AM  

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