Taking Another Whack at Journalism

Reporters laugh at man’s beating — see page B3.

“Ooh! Mike hasn’t seen it yet!”

I join my newspaper colleagues clustered around Harry’s computer. He starts up the silent security camera video we got from police.

A young man shrouded in a hooded black puffy coat wanders into the frame, pulls out a knife and demands cash. It’s the fifth holdup at this convenience store in a month.

But this time, the clerk is ready.

Oh, I’ll give you the money, the clerk taunts, grabbing a wooden Louisville Slugger T-ball bat from beneath the counter.


“Strike one!” someone in the newsroom shouts amidst the guffaws.

Merchandise flying everywhere, the clerk whips around the counter and pounds on the hapless would-be robber. WHAM! WHAM! WHAM! WHAM! WHAM! WHAM!

The newsroom is in hysterics. I’m laughing, too, even though I’m usually squeamish around real violence like this. I feel a little less guilty when I learn the guy wasn’t hurt that badly.

It also helps that the video will only play at about one-and-a-half times normal speed, making it look more like a Benny Hill sketch than an attempted robbery. One of my colleagues downloads the Benny Hill theme music and completes the effect.

The video will later turn up on CNN and a host of TV stations, but for now we’re just enjoying being among the first to see it — over and over and over.

“Hey, there’s Steve! He hasn’t seen it yet! Play it again!”

Article © 2006 by Michael Duck