The real zombie reporter

As I descend the midweek hump toward the weekend, I find myself contemplating the eb and flow of life as I sit at the desk in the Times Herald newsroom that I’ve inhabited for nearly two weeks as a temp reporter while Mike Grant is on medical leave.

I was once a hopeful and unknowingly-naive Loogootee High School graduate similar to the ones gracing the pages of last week’s issues, and then suddenly I was a wife, married to my high school sweetheart, Tim Lukomski, and a graduate from the University of Evansville followed by a passionate and determined special education teacher at McGary Middle School who never imagined herself anywhere else, and yet, I became a part-time volunteer curriculum writer for the youth ministry at Crossroads Christian Church, an aspiring writer and a mother to a gorgeous and unique girl-child.

Oddly, at this point, while still in my 20’s, I felt I had arrived at a comfortable plateau where I would stay awhile. Although as a graduate, wife, mother and teacher, I was an official card-carrying adult, I still possessed a certain naivety that left me unaware that my comfort with so much life yet to live just might be the artful foreshadowing of a major change, and so it was, actually, of many.

Saturday, Aug. 2, 2008, I woke up to meet the next me in the series. Adding “survivor” to the list, I had survived the beginnings of a stroke in the night that continued ravaging my brain, despite medical intervention, throughout the day. In the 10 years since, I have learned to walk again, raised my daughter through her childhood that will transition into her teens this summer, developed a new appreciation for disability and those living with it, became the gleeful owner of a flock of chickens, two goats, four cats and two dogs, and most relevant to you, the reader, introduced to the world of journalism by a short, two-month stint as a writer for the Loogootee Tribune right before it closed, and now, for a short time, of which the cactus plant and family photos on the desktop suggest I’m in denial, I am a reporter for the Washington Times Herald.

Please keep in mind as I cover your events and write your stories that I have significant brain damage from my stroke that essentially obliterated the right hemisphere of my brain leaving me quite literally out of my right mind, that any errors or mistakes in my efforts are likely connected to my brain cell deficit and have no root in meanness or lack of effort.

I’ve already bumbled a few details in regard to an Odon Town Council meeting, and completely failed to produce work up to my standards while under the pressure of my first ever real deadline for the last Washington City Council meeting, so I’m studying up on how I need to adapt my hyper-wordy writing style to quality meeting coverage, and I hope you will begin to see signs of my success in doing so as early as next week when I cover the Daviess County Commissioner’s meeting.

By the way, my sincerest apologies to the town of Odon and the city of Washington for your meeting coverage becoming part of the collateral damage while I figure out how to be the best half-brain-dead reporter there ever was, and yes, I realize that I probably already am for the likelihood, that half-brain-dead reporters are a rare breed, so there you go, to anyone reading this who was wondering why on earth the Times Herald would hire, even for a temporary position, a person with so few cognitive resources. I am a rare, therefore, valuable asset.

I like to put a positive spin on things. The first thing I asked the doctor, with unexpected excitement, upon learning of my paralysis was, “Does this mean I’ll get a handicap parking pass?” Of course, his response was noncommittal with the hope, at that point, that I would have a full recovery, but yay, I did get my parking pass and get to park up front in the Times Herald parking lot.

At one point, when “The Walking Dead” was at the height of its popularity, I’d tell fans of the show that I am, essentially, the real-life walking dead, in that half my brain is dead, and yet, here I am dragging or walking around, and then I’d offer them my autograph, but to date, no one has been overly excited about meeting a half-zombie in real life. Much thanks to The Washington Times Herald for giving me a chance to prove how valuable half-brain dead, zombie reporters can be.

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