Sunday, March 2, 2008

Searching for Mr. Mahon

Number of minutes spent interviewing Mr. Mahon for the NPR bowling story: 2
Number of minutes spent logging the tape from this interview: 14
Percentage of interesting, bowling-related remarks made by him that are unusable because I stepped all over them, perhaps because the interview took place 3 hours past my bedtime, perhaps because I'd been awake for 36 hours straight, perhaps because I was still flustered from recent encounter with hunky Mr. Flapjack Tits: 33
Minutes spent waffling over the viability of two remaining, unsullied quotes: 10
Differing places the selected quote occupied in the story before a producer looked at it: 7
Number of Irishmen in the entire bowling alley, amongst a field of 120 bowlers: 4
Percentage of Irishmen present who were interviewed, with great interest, by me: 75
Number of times I considered that perhaps the Irish were in danger of being a tad over-represented in the story: 0 
Number of times my husband questioned my pronunciation of Mr. Mahon's last name after the long-buried, genetic, Boston-Irish link to the motherland roused itself inside him, yet again: 1
Times I said to Larry, "He's not going to hear it, anyway:" 3
Times Larry shook his head in response and said, "I'm just saying you'd better check:" 3
Minutes spent frantically scrolling through digital tracks, in vain, to find the interview in a hope against hope that I had, in fact, asked Mr. Mahon to say his name on tape, as any professional would do, if she had half a brain, even if she had just previously spent several minutes in the presence of hunky Mr. Flapjack Tits: 22
Number of times I cursed myself using unprintable language: 11
Frantic emails sent to co-commissioner of bowling league asking if there is any way she might know this guy and/or how to say his name:2
Times I checked email in the two hours before morning edit with producer: 17
Times I checked email after the morning edit while waiting to voice the story: 15
Elapsed time, in minutes, spent mining the electronic landfill known as the Internet collecting irrelevant scraps of information about Mr. Mahon, including his age (41), and his day job (personal trainer) in an effort to discover the correct pronunciation of his name: 123
Mr. Mahon's IMDB listings: 12
Number of his appearances on ER, voice-overs for dragons, and roles in a Sci-Fi channel movies of the week: 1
Appearances on Line of Fire, which I had never heard of: 4
Number of acting coaches who use Mr. Mahon's head shot and enthusiastic endorsement in online brochure copy: 1
Number of gay men's websites that speak of him with lust and admiration: 5 (and counting)
Percent chance that he is, in fact, gay: 35
Number of nude or explicit photos of him on the internet: 0
Minutes spent mentally composing Google searches likely to yield such photos: 3
Time, in minutes, spent wondering how to find any nude photos of any attractive men in order to alleviate anxious boredom: 7
Amount, in dollars, of money personally raised by Mr. Mahon in 2004 to fight Leukemia: 60,456
Elapsed time, in seconds, of self-imposed guilt trip over having hoped, however casually, to glimpse the dinky of a great humanitarian: 52
Percentage of the five-man cast of the Seafarer interviewed by reporters representing various broadcast media, including podcast, during which the reporters stated their names clearly and correctly: 80
Number of times Mr. Mahon was interviewed by said reporters, who might even inadvertently have pronounced his name correctly: 0
Number of times I watched Mr. Mahon's acting demo reel on YouTube, even after I knew it would not teach me how to say his name: 4
Additional minutes spent wondering what sort of parts he would be good for: 12
Time spent setting up a YouTube account so that I could send an email to whoever posted the demo reel, in hopes of getting the pronunciation right:40
Number of attempts to send email: 3
Number of responses: 0
Times I entertained the irrational notion that the person who posted that reel is, in fact, a crazed fan: 17
Times I feared that I was becoming a crazed fan: 3
Number of attempts to convince the show's producer that we could cut this quote and any reference to Mr. Mahon without losing substance: 2
Minutes prior to voicing tracks that I checked email one final time to find a response from bowling league contact that contained the correct pronunciation: 1
Amount of time spent considering that I made a day-long obsession out of a single syllable word, and over the life and career of a total stranger: as little as possible

THE EXERCISE: Make a list. The items on it and the order in which they are listed should tell a story. With any luck, the resulting story is shorter and tighter than the one above (and displays less overt craziness on the part of the writer).

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