Archive for December 14th, 2011

14th December
2011
written by amber

Persona

When I started out on radio, it was expected that an interviewer would be neutral, and that was what I strove for. But my great voice and – once I progressed to TV news – my good looks could take me only so far, and I began to worry that I’d never make it to the big leagues.

Then a debate unexpectedly provided the break I’d been dreaming about. The debate was just for fun, certainly it was nothing I expected to make any difference to my career. I’d been asked to take an extreme position which was far from the way I really felt about the topic, and the next day an agent called to say that NBC wanted to talk to me. I didn’t have an agent then, so I signed with him. Preparing for the meeting with NBC, he told me that my stance in the debate, the way I’d presented myself, the person I became when I held that stance – that was what had attracted their attention. He told me to study the tapes of the debate.

He told me to be that person.

It was surprisingly easy. My name is Robert, but I decided that debate-guy should be ‘Rob.’ And debate-guy dressed differently than I did, more flamboyantly, more in-your-face. Going into the interview, I felt like a fake, I thought I might be throwing my future away, but the minute I sat down and said, “Call me Rob,” he took over and it went beautifully.

So, for the past dozen years, I’ve been in the States, and I got my own show seven years ago. Ratings are great. Whenever the ratings start to slip, my agent works with me to ramp up Rob’s shock value, bring in some new victim for me to rake over the coals, make some outrageous pronouncement that’ll have me all over the tabloids.

But it isn’t easy for me. I am not that guy. I was raised a farm-boy in a good Christian home. We had oil on our land, and it bought my parents a comfortable retirement.  So it pains me when people assume I am Rob, the uber-liberal attack jock, putting it to conservative politicians caught with their pants down, skewering religious leaders for trying to follow their consciences, hammering bureaucrats who might want to impose common sense on their institutions, flaying economists for not foreseeing what could not be foreseen.

Oh, my audience loves me. And they don’t know how deeply I hate them.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story for every day of the year and posted on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line or topic suggestions in the Comment section of any story. If you’d like me to use your name in a story, I’d be happy to do that.