This I Believe

Tom - Christiansburg, Virginia
Entered on September 6, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50

I am a smalltime journalist. I’ve covered senior centers, car crashes, support groups, zoning, zoning appeals and way too much sewer news.

I believe that there is truly something for everyone at the upcoming street festival.

Should it rain at the street festival, I believe that it will not dampen the spirits of festival-goers.

If a local musician has played in both Virginia and Oregon, I believe that he has entertained fans across the country. If he has also played in Toronto, I believe he has an international following.

I believe that the random people I see at the mall or having breakfast at McDonalds have important things to say about national events. If any of them can claim a minor connection to an event — say having once visited New Orleans — I believe that a national event has hit close to home.

I believe that any high school student who is not a football quarterback is an “unsung hero.” The football quarterback may be an unsung hero, too, if he gets good grades.

I believe that the local karaoke champ has an interesting story to tell. So does the kid who wants to be a pro wrestler and the nice old lady who won a giant dinosaur as a gag prize and decided to keep it.

I believe that a new Wal-Mart deserves several dozen stories before it opens, but after that it should be ignored at all costs.

I believe that an issue is a “hot issue.” If someone complains about it to town council it becomes a “controversy.”

I believe that farmer’s markets are the greatest places in the world. If a town doesn’t have one, I’ll gladly write a story every time they talk about having one.

I believe that anyone who calls themselves an artist is an artist and needs to have a story written about them. However, I believe that the folks who make things but don’t call themselves artists deserve a story even more.

I believe that everyone deserves a chance to tell their side of the story, but if they can’t return my phone call this afternoon then they can forget it.

I believe that a good time was had by all.

I believe that almost every story no matter how terrible can end with a ray of hope and the reporter has to keep going until he finds it. Maybe it’s guy who swears he’ll rebuild his burned up house or maybe it’s the folks who stopped by the man’s house that night to give him money and some clothes.

But I also know that sometimes you go back to work the next morning and find out that the ray of hope got squished out. Sometimes the guy dies because he spent too long clinging to a tree in the flooded river before they pulled him out. And I was there and saw it all and heard him hollering for help and went home thinking he was going to be okay and he wasn’t.

But I believe I’ll find a happier ending on the next story.