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Curse you, furlough day (A story of designer's remorse)

Thanks to the gift of furlough (forced, unpaid days off), I was able to take this past Sunday off, hang out and watch the Super Bowl. While I loved not only having a weekend off but having quite the prime weekend off, I'm pretty sure the newspaper designer inside of me is plotting some kind of revenge. OK, I absolutely know that sounds crazy (and it probably is), but hear me out.

I've been at the Democrat and Chronicle (officially in full-time capacity) for 16 months now, I've been designing 1As (the front pages) for probably 14 months, and I've been the 1A designer for just short of a year. One of the dangers that comes with passion for this kind of work is the fact that your most exciting days come from either great triumphs or great tragedies. Some of my strongest work has come from these kinds of days. A plane crash in Buffalo, N.Y., and the Miracle on the Hudson. The death of Michael Jackson and the 40th anniversary of mankind's first steps on the moon. Basically, I live for the days that snap us out of the ordinary. During the early months of my entry into 1A, I dreaded days off, knowing there was the chance that I could miss something big. In a weird way, I forgot how to enjoy my days away from the newsroom. Yes, I completely understand how bizarre this may seem to some people, but I guess I'm just lucky to have a job that excites me as much as mine does.

Anyways, somewhere between my family vacation in July and my trip to Florida in October, this feeling subsided. No, I didn't lose my passion but I did realize that there would always be another breaking news story. Yeah, maybe I didn't design 1A on the night the Yankees clinched the World Series or something like that but it clicked that the next day was waiting to happen and who knows what it had in store for the newsroom. A day off? Awesome.

In all honesty, I had few reservations about my furlough day on Super Bowl Sunday. Yeah, I had passed up the chance to design a few Super Bowl pages, but they play the game every year. This feeling lasted until I lay in bed Monday morning, tooling around on my iPod. That's when I stumbled across this picture.

Oomph. If I hadn't had headphones in, I probably could have heard my designer heart break.

What a photo. New Orleans Saints quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees celebrating with his infant son, confetti in the air, "Champions" emblazed in front of them. I don't think you could plan a more perfect picture. And just like that, I immediately wished I had been at work on Sunday night. That I had found this picture. And that I would know that thousands of readers in Rochester would get to see this photo too.

Designer's remorse sullenly followed me during parts of the day. "Hope you enjoyed those Molsons yesterday. I'm sure it was worth missing the opportunity to work with this photo," it would say, in its droopy designer's remorse voice. "Make sure you don't spend that whopping (hypothetical) $26 you won in that (hypothetical) squares pool." Designer's remorse is such a downer. It's the reminder of what could have been. And based on that last remark about the $26, it's apparently trying to get me in trouble with the government.

By the time I got around to writing this though, another day of work had gone by, filled with new chances to create new things. I thoroughly enjoyed Sunday. I had plenty of food. I enjoyed a few beers. I watched a Super Bowl that was not only a great came, but was also able to lift a city that had experienced so much pain. And I got to do it all with a bunch of my closest friends. It was a great way to cap a rare weekend off. If I had been at work, yeah, I would have been able to design a page with this photo, but I would have missed all of this while I was there.

Now that I've put words to blog, I'm ready to move on. Like I said before, there's always the next big day just waiting for the newsroom. Rumors have been swirling this week that New York Governor David Paterson may resign. He just has to wait until Thursday though ... I'm off the next two days.
Curse you, furlough day (A story of designer's remorse) Reviewed by Bill Kuchman on 2/09/2010 Rating: 5

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