LIFE DOESN'T imitate art, it parodies it. That's why Mondays are so depressing. Lou Grant is on the tube. Just once I'd like to see some poor schlub from Lou Grant's fictional Trib write about how the Department of Transportation is cutting the Amtrak line from Pomona to Sausalito. That's what out papers what: regional and local news from Washington, what their congressman or senator is doing.
Before I had this job, I thought parochialism only realted to Catholic schools. Today is exciting because I get to write a about international relations: a fishing treaty between the United States and Canada. This is big stuff in New England. Massachusetts' Gerry Studds is unhappy because he things the State Department shafted his scallop fishermen. Maine's David Emery is happy because his redfish fisherman got a good quota.The rest of the day is kind of slow so I go home and watch Rossi and Lou Grant break up an arson for profit ring.
Through the miracle of New Math, our small bureau manages to allocate our three people to four hearings. Betty Mills, a talented journalist who is my partner, writes another chapter in the continuing saga of the Alaska lands fight for the Anchorage Times, while our intern, Debra Kohn, goes to listen to Lt. Gov. Thomas P. O'Neill, who is Speaker O'Neill's son and is as exciting as a Channel 26 fundraiser. I catch the umpteenth hearing on why New Jersey should get its own television station, then head over to yet another fishing hearing. Then the usual round of phone calls of the delegations' press secretaries to see what their bosses are doing Dick Lerner, an extremely nice fellow who always sounds like he's on a steady diet of Quaaludes, reminds me that his boss, Sen, Bill Bradley, will be available for an informal session with New Jersey reporters tomorrow.
Betty does a good piece on the Alaska pipeline. Debbie, who is showing signs if real promise, covers DOE'S John O'Leary on home heating oil and I head over to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, where they have yet to learn simple English, for a hearing on the Salem II nuclear plant for the Trenton Times.
Sen. Bill Cohen kf Maine, an extremely able politician who sends his clothes out to be wrinkled when he goes back to the state, gets Russell Long's Finance Committee to reject a shoddy HEW report on home health care for the aged. The Bradley session goes well, with lots of informal give-and-take between him and the Jersey-in-was-Washington press corps. Bob Maitlin, who quit, the Newark Star-Ledger to become a flack for Rep. Bob Roe, sends over a press release and tells me how he's looking forward to gambling in the new casino in Atlantic City.
I set up dinner with Emergy of Maine, who is such a wily politician that he usually manages to stick someone els with the check. Last time he attended a red Sox-Orioles game, he bought $2.50 bleacher seats so he could sneak down to the $6.50 box seats in the second inning. Rep. Toby Moffett releases a DOE memo on how there won't be enough home heating oil this winter, which is intersting since the DOE memo was written the day before Carter met with New England governors to promise them there would be enough oil. I file a story on the subject and write a weekend column on it as well. The Emery dinner goes well as we kid about John Day, one of my competition, wo managed to buy a Porsche on his salary from the Bangor Daily News. I can't afford a bicycle. Sure enough, Emergy forgets his Master Charge.
It is a slow day in that X-rated day care center known as the Senate press gallery. Bucky Allen, a Louisiana reporter, bums cigarettes from me all day along because he has quit smoking. I clear my desk and make plans to listen to some fine rock'n roll from the Skip Castro band at Columbia Station in my home neighborhood of Adams-Morgan. I read the Boston Golbe to catch up on Doonesbury and do three crossword puzzles.
Too much tequila last night. The entire Red army left its track socks in my mouth, and my head feels like the timpani section of the National Symphony.
I read the Post, the Times, the "other paper" and catch up on all the news services' papers as well. After reading them, I give the whole mess to a neighbor who is housebreaking a St. Bernard. I vow that this week I will not watch Lou Grant.