Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Legend of Lea Morningwood (An Intern Tail)

      The first time I laid eyes on her, I heard voices… well really just one voice.  It was strong and authoritative with a soft, soothing undertone.  It told me to steer clear of her.
     I was a reporter at a Birmingham, Alabama television station.  She was a college student who had joined our team for a few weeks as an intern.  To this day I can’t concretely say why I didn’t like her.  I suppose it could be that she rubbed me the wrong way by rubbing against everybody but me. But looking  back, I think I would rather have made love to a sheet of sandpaper than to have felt any friction from her.  Whatever the reason for my dislike of her, it was genuine.
     Sure she was pretty.  And it was obvious to me she thought her good looks would swing wide the very doors it had taken me years of hard work to barely crack.  She seemed smart until she batted her eyelashes at me.  She batted them at every male reporter at the station and a few of them quickly took a likening to her.  Perhaps you can now see why this story is more An Intern Tail, than a tale.

     I had seen her type before.  She thought the concepts of hard work and “paying dues” applied to everyone else.  Success would come easy to her.  She would ascend to a big time TV reporter gig on the backs of all who taught her the ropes. 
      I can only recall one time when I saw her display any skill remotely related to reporting.  I overheard her recounting details to her fellow female interns about some quality time she had spent with another reporter outside of work.
     “Oh my gosh,” she giggled to them.  “It’s like we connected spiritually.”
     I took that to mean they laid hands on each other and spoke in tongues. 
     You should know that when TV reporters look for jobs, in addition to our resume we also send demonstration tapes of work we’ve done.  Potential bosses don’t want to just read about where we’ve worked and what we’ve done.  That tape lets them see how well we do it.  The purpose of an internship is to give college students an up close look at our business and to provide them an opportunity to put their first resume tape together to help them land that first job.  I sensed this intern planned to convince – no, connive -  someone to help with her tape.  Sure she planned to pay them… with nature’s credit card.
    I managed to avoid directly working with her for nearly her entire internship.  Then one day she cornered me for conversation.  “Oh shit!” I thought as I plastered on a plastic smile and prepared to fake enthusiasm.
     “Chris, I heard a rumor (that’s never a good way to start a conversation) that Tatum is not your real last name… that you changed your name for TV.”
     “Was this a question or a statement?” I wondered, determined not to confirm or deny anything from the rumor mill.

     “So I was wondering if you think I should change my name.”

     “Uh-oh!” I thought, as my mind scanned millions of megabytes of memory trying to remember her name.  “Well, um… what is your name?” I finally had to ask.

     “Lea Wood.”

     At that moment, face to face and eye to eye with her I again heard voices.  The first one was kind and familiar.  I recognized it as the same voice that had warned me to steer clear of her when we’d first met. 

     “Don’t do it!” the voice cautioned, almost to the point of alarm.

     But the other voice was much deeper; much darker; much more sinister.  It had a devilishly delicious tone to it.  Before I could stop myself I had fallen under its spell.

     “Lea Wood,” I repeated back to her, then sounded it out slowly.  “Lea Wooood.” 

     I could tell she felt a bit cocky that she had broken my ability to avoid her any longer.   I was still under the spell of that sinister voice.

     “I think Lea Wood is a great base name,” I told her, already laughing on the inside at what I was about to do.  “No, you shouldn’t change it.  Just enhance it a bit.”

     “What do you mean?

      “I don’t know,” I said,  acting like I was in serious thought.   “You want to make it  memorable.  You know… something like… Lea Morningwood.”  

     Surely she could see through such a thinly veiled reference to a hard dick.

     “Lea Mornngwood.  Lea.  Morning.  Wood.”   She kept sounding it aloud.  “I like it!”

     In my defense, I figured she would  eventually tell the other interns about her new TV name  and I was counting one of them to explain the meaning of “Morningwood.”  I didn’t think about it again until I was leaving work one evening and my boss stopped me.   

     “Mr. Tatum, let’s talk for a minute,” he called down the hall.

     I stepped into his office and sat down in the chair that faced his desk.   I had endured many an ass chewing in this chair over the years and now couldn’t help but notice how comfortably it cradled the contour of my ass.
     My boss handed me a VHS tape and I gasped as I read the name emblazoned in red, capital letters across its spine:  LEA MORNINGWOOD. 
     I won’t bore you with details of that particular ass-chewing although I must say that as ass-chewings go, it was monumental.   I admit I felt a little bad when my boss told me this poor girl had sent tapes bearing the name Lea Morningwood  to TV stations all over the country and that there was even a TV industry chat room that had been abuzz about her nasty name. 

      The fact remains that Lea Wood had set out to make a name for herself in TV news.  I like to think that with my help she sort of did:  Lea Morningwood.

     As fate would ultimately have it, Lea Wood married money and now lives the kind of life most reporters can only dream of.  She never worked a day in TV news.

     But the legendary story of the rise and fall of Lea Morningwood lives on at that Birmingham TV station.  And always will, knock wood.

1 comment:

  1. OMG, Chris that is hillarious. That is something that I would have laughed hysterically at. I have such a smile on my face reading it. I can imagine the ass chewing you endured but what a great story to tell. HAHAHHA. Love it.