Unsuccessful in everything, the Complete and Total Loser was an unsuccessful journalist from the mid 1990s to 2002, when he pulled the plug on his career, having reached as his highest level the position of editorial assistant for a wire service.
On 9/11/01, the Loser was hard at work, doing his menial tasks like cutting his bettors's stories from regional newspapers to put in their mail boxes, a morale-building duty. One of the bureau's four televisions was tuned to CNN, which carried early footage of the first plane's hit. (Over the next 20 minutes the other televisions would carry the same feed.) The bureau chief was on the phone talking to the service's headquarters, which is in New York.
"Amazing, this plan hitting the World Trade Center, isn't it?" he said to a head news editor on the phone he called daily to touch base with regarding stories they may take from the Loser's branch. The woman hadn't heard. She stuttered and hung up.
Not long after the second plane hit, the Loser's superiors told him to go to the airport and phone in quotes from stranded passengers and airport PR. The Loser boarded a train, rode it for fifteen minutes, and spent the next twelve hours at the airport, wandering the long corridors until his feet ached. He got no information of any value, but he was not called back to the branch. The staffers were probably glad to be rid of him for the day.
A few hours into his stint, a woman pushing a cart bearing bottled water and snacks came by. She was handing them out to trapped travelers. The Loser asked her about her task and she told him such things were done by the airport when planes were stalled due to bad weather.
Reporters are not to take gifts, even small ones, from anyone involved in something they're covering. The Loser was good about this, but he did accept a small bottle of water from the woman. He put it in his jacket pocket in case he got thirsty later. He didn't, and he ended up taking it home, where he put it in his cupboard. The events of that awful day tainted the water, and the Loser never drank it or disposed of it.
What happens to bottled water over a decade? The water escapes through osmosis and the container begins to collapse.
|A ten-year-old bottle of Poland Spring bottled water on a windowsill much older than it is.|