That picture above? That's my desk as it existed this morning, shortly after I was told that I was going to have to move that glorious collection of crap, box it all up and put it in storage while the Westword offices are remodeled.
I love my desk. Seven years of shwag, seven years of notes and phone numbers and weird toys and liquor. You can't see the hundreds of dollars worth of Irish whiskey hidden away in one of my drawers, the 364 weeks of copy stacked on the floor just out of the camera's view. You can't see the infamous latex Richard Nixon mask that I wore through three years of public appearances in order to hide my identity before retiring it and moving on to a much more comfortable (and easy to eat through) Mexican wrestler's mask, or the custom-made and matched set of Wustoff steak knives, or my Waffle House name tag -- the one I proudly wore right up until a couple nights before I started this job.
My boss and I had discussed sealing the entire thing up in lucite and donating it to some museum: an example of the way proper journalists worked before everyone became a journalist and started writing blogs and tweeting and posting pictures of their doodles and demanding Pulitzer Prizes for their cleverness; a shrine to the days when people used to have to look at words on paper before deciding what qualified as news. The only thing missing -- the only thing separating my desk from those of all the ink-stained wretches who came before me -- was an ashtray and one of those hats with the little PRESS tag stuck in the band. Oh, and a typewriter, I guess. Possibly a pistol if we're talking about the kind of journalists I idolized when I began this long, strange trip. But for all I know, both of those things could be hidden under the falls and scree slopes of stuff that have surrounded me while I've worked for the past several years. God only knows what I might find in there...
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Which is why, of course, I've decided to document some of the stranger, grosser and more unusual things I find while boxing up seven years worth of my life. And because this is the twenty-first-fucking-century, I am, of course, doing all this right here on the blog, complete with pictures and a running commentary, just like the kids do these days. A journalist writing about the things he finds at his desk as an excuse to revisit stories of years past? Yeah, it doesn't get much more meta than that, baby.
So stay tuned right here for the next installment in the Mysteries of Sheehan's Desk. I promise it will be at least as interesting as that website you go to every day with the pictures of cats asleep in sinks. And who knows? Maybe I'll even find something worthwhile buried under all that stuff.
Other than the whiskey, I mean.