Sometimes, being a journalist isn’t a whole heap of fun.
You might have to sit through hours of indecipherable legal arguments in a court. You might have to waste hours of your life listening to councillors waffling on and on about something that actually doesn’t matter very much at all.
You might have to attend a conference that is of little interest to anyone except those who are already there.
You might have to knock on the door of a bereaved family hours after they had been struck by tragedy, an accident maybe or worse still, a murder. Eight in the morning, and you’re standing at their door asking questions and looking for a photograph of the deceased. (Just by the way, it was something I did dozens of times and was never treated with anything other than courtesy and kindness.)
Sure, there are good moments when you crack a good story or when you’re told you have to go somewhere like the Slane concert or some other gig. Mind you, in my case that once meant going to see Gary Glitter.
Being a reporter isn’t for everyone. But then what job is?
For example, I couldn’t be a teacher.
I wouldn’t be able for it. I cannot imagine the stress of having to deal with a little brat. Like me.
I wouldn’t have the patience to deal with a class where the kids are all of different abilities, different behaviour and different attitudes.
Nor could I be a doctor or a nurse. Despite having spent countless hours in A&E and having been admitted to hospital 18 times in eight years and having undergone a bone marrow transplant, I’m pretty squeamish.
I certainly couldn’t be a garda. I think I’d be fired for either slapping a brat across the head for being cheeky giving some bully a belt of a baton.
I wouldn’t drive a taxi either. The idea of sitting in the front seat of my car while complete strangers, possible pissed out of their brains, sat behind me is extremely scary.
I was, many years ago in London, both a waiter and a barman. I wouldn’t last now. Why? Because I’d tell rude customers where to go. Not only are they not always right, they rarely are.
I couldn’t be a civil servant. I’m sure there are many who would testify that I am neither civil nor servile.
I couldn’t be an accountant. I managed to get a D in Pass Maths in the Leaving. How I ended up in First Commerce in UCD the following year I don’t know. But it ended in tears. My mother’s after she saw my results. 25 in economics, 15 in maths and 0 in accountancy.
And I couldn’t be a farmer. It looks too much like work.
So I think my mother got it spot on when she asked me, in 1972, to return from London to do a course in journalism.
Almost half a century on, I’m still at it…