Originally on my private blog, which I intended to edit, but decided to keep as is.
Beef jerky was the perfect thank you/goodbye gift, because when our saleslady met with the homemade-jerky-business owner — I guess it’s called a Smokehouse, he gave us all samples, and Ben would not stop raving about how good it was. And it was good — more like smoked steak than jerky, as he put it. He is also not the type of guy that needs the fluff of a gift bag, so I wasn’t surprised when his appreciation was as genuine with just the plastic sack.
It wasn’t a far-away adventure. Only paid internships offer that, unless you have tons of money saved up for living and eating expenses. But, it was hands-on work at the station that, in my junior year of high school, got me to school and work.
It brought back the excitement from four years ago that small-town Nebraska was now open minded enough for its own rock station. Before, rock was limited to Friday night “Outlaw Radio” on the Top 40 station.
The glass windows faced the old fashioned brick street. You could drive by and see a DJ, or sometimes an empty studio. And this summer, I got to record in that big room, which turned out to be very hot with the sun beating in those glass windows, or cold with the air conditioner working over time.
I somewhat had my own desk. Even my own laptop when Derek didn’t need it. And I learned. Not only the ways of Adobe Audition, which really is worlds of simplicity when you get it, and how to attribute and write better, minor differences in broadcast news and print, uploading an article to the site to post on Facebook.
I learned to save printed-off news releases for future note-taking, because it recycled the paper. I learned to always use a staple-remover and not copy one page at a time in a copier. My passive voice diminished, slowly. I ran a board one night and finally stopped shaking over the fact that I could ruin a baseball game.
Outside of work, I realized a relationship would never work between a best friend and I. I re-familiarized myself with that 17-year-old feeling and not worrying so much. I tried to go to as many lakes as I could, take as many pictures as possible and make adventures out of the smallest things. Unpaid doesn’t mean reclusive, after all.
And I learned other things too, things that I couldn’t explain even if it was okay for public forum. I became more adult than I ever have been in all of one day and saw a different side of one business than I wanted to admit existed. Truth is harsh, and life can beat you down. But, the minute I tried to let that get to me, an old friend reminded me via a scene from “Rocky” that if you can get back up, it can all be okay.
In June, I wanted more than anything to come back to this station summer after summer until I graduate, which could be anytime. Now, I want to graduate as soon as possible, maybe only one semester late. I want to believe in myself enough to score that far-away adventure and get paid for it. And when I do, I won’t be too good for small town media that was once not ready for even its own rock station.
Sometimes, you just need your hometown to help mold who you really are.