Sometimes the ending is the best part

Published 9:25 am Friday, July 19, 2013

One of my favorite movies of all time is “The Paper.”

For those of you who aren’t aware, that is a Michael Keaton and Marisa Tomei vehicle that illustrates the hectic personal and professional lives of journalists.

Keaton plays an overworked journalist – a metro editor for a big New York City daily newspaper – Tomei plays a former reporter and his oft-ignored, pregnant wife.

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That movie is my favorite for a number of reasons. First, I think it accurately depicts the daily grind of a career in newspapers.

For instance, the opening scene focuses in on a ringing alarm clock and pans down to Keaton in full suit and tie sprawled facedown on the bed. That scene reads like a news bulletin of the less-than-stellar hours we work in this profession. This just in, we keep sometimes strange, sometimes long hours.

The movie, secondly, deals with probing questions regarding journalism ethics as two young men are arrested for a crime they didn’t commit. In an ultra-competitive media market, it was interesting to see Keaton’s character fight to get the truth out when the odds were against him.

The movie, thirdly, depicts characters one might imagine they’d run into at a newspaper office; the high-strung managing editor (played by Glenn Close,) or the snarky, slightly neurotic columnist (played by the incomparable Randy Quaid) and the hardened, chain-smoking editor-in-chief (played by Robert Duvall.)

While those are all things I love about this movie, the one scene that sticks out the most in my mind is one depicting dinner plans with Tomei’s character and her in-laws. She makes dinner plans for her, her husband and his parents. Plans that Keaton’s character inevitably messes up because of deadline pressures.

This scene resonated with me the first time I watched the movie because I always thought journalism was a lonely profession.

My assumption was that no one could possibly put up with the strange hours that a job like mine requires. I always thought that the effort involved with changing plans or rescheduling time with friends and relatives would be too much work for someone to handle.

I’ve been in journalism nearly six years now and I can’t count the number of times that I haven’t been invited out because a friend argues, “I knew you wouldn’t be able to get off of work anyway.”  So, I thought my assumption was coming from a place of knowledge.

I’ve learned more recently that it depends largely on the person you meet. A journalist needs someone who cares enough to not be burdened by the changing of plans or constant rescheduling. That’s the key, and I’m here to say I think I finally found that in my beautiful girlfriend Hillary.

We met online; more specifically on, and from the moment of our first blind date I knew I was in trouble. You see, talking with her, even early on, felt more like I was catching up with someone that I had known for 10 years, rather than just 10 minutes.

She’s the first person I’ve ever dated that makes me feel like I can truly be my own geeky self. There’s no judgment, except when I wear cargo shorts.

For example, I wear contact lenses most of the time because I hate wearing my glasses. I’ve had them for years, they’re scratched, dinged and sit crooked on my face because of years of abuse. I almost never wear them, even if my eyes are sore and red because of the hours upon hours I have the smaller lenses crammed into my face.

I was terrified the first time I wore them in front of Hillary. We hadn’t been together too long and I thought once she saw the nerd badge clinging to my face she’d get a phone call “from a friend in trouble” and that would be it, but that wasn’t the case.
There was no friend in need, instead she said “you look cute in your glasses.” I know this sounds stupid, but no one — not even family members — had ever said that to me before. I was smitten. She was the one I’d been waiting for.

It, of course, grew from there. We spent more and more time together and I thought that eventually she’d get bored and move on, but it just kept getting stronger.

Friends used to tell me that when a relationship is right you know it. It just works. I never believed any of that until now. There have been a few small hiccups along the way, a few arguments, but each has made us stronger as a couple.

I’ve become a better person since she entered my life. I feel better and look forward to each day as it comes.

That being said, I don’t want to be a lonely journalist anymore.

(I apologize for this next part. I will proceed to ignore all of the readers of this column except one.)

Hillary, I love you. I find myself longing for your caring soul, your warmth and those gorgeous blues eyes that sparkle when you laugh. You bring me so much happiness on a daily basis and you fill my heart with so much joy that it overflows.

You mean so much to me and I honestly can’t picture my life without you and I don’t want to.

So, I’m hoping that you’ll ignore the ink stains on my shirts and continue making me the happiest man on the planet. Will you marry me?