To my family——who make life worth living
The Killer Producer
Lately，if I happen to be looking through my address book for a phone number,I'm apt to stop when I come across the name of someone I haven't been in touch with for a while.
A friend,maybe,or an acquaintance.When I do,I'm likely to fire off an e-mail with no more length or gravitas than this:
『Hey，how you been?』
The gesture is a small one,but I didn't used to do this.Day that were filled with the pressure and crises of running a national cable television program had little room for casual nicety.
If I wasn't in the control room producing it,I was in my office thinking about how to produce it.If somebody screwed up,I could go off like a roadside bomb, in finger snap.
I like this.But the show so consumed me that it couldn't be merely acceptable.It had to be great.I had ambitions.I had to be the killer producer.
Then one day,with no warning whatsoever,I became scary sick in a random and half-to-figure way,given that I was not even forty years old.Most people with the medical emergency I had do not emerge at all.Weeks later,my health restored,I went back to work,and was eager and happy to do so.
I had no urge to surrender mu spot in the fast lane for ownership of a B&B in Vermont.
But serious illness had recalibrated me.It had brought a trove of knowledge,as if I had involuntarily paid a painful tuition for an elite education.It was about what I could control and what I couldn't,and how people felt about me,really felt about Joe Biden,the vice president of the United States.
It would be nice,I thought,if everyone could get the education I had gotten without having to nearly die.
So I deceide to write a book
The man who would become my neurosurgeon doubts that a brain can make a noise.Mine did.I'm sure of it.
On a cool,partly cloudy spring day not long after nine in the morning,my brain went audible,emitting a pop from deep within,not a loud one,more like a balloon had been pricked in the distance.
Now came something else.It was as if a glass of water had tipped up there and spilled its contents;only this didn't feel like a liquid,just a sensation of movement inside,from the back of my head toward the front.
Now someone clamped a vise around my skull.Now someone tightened the vise with sadistic gusto,evidently striving for pain number so far above ten it would merit a Guinness entry.
My body's inventiveness and the speed of its transformation were bewildering,and darkly impressive.In the time it takes to listen to a voice mail,which is what I had been doing ,it had mustered a vicious headache.
I was having a unique event,which I normally enjoy.Olympics?Worked several, loved them.Super Bowls,World Series,national political conventions,A-list receptions,book parties,movie screenings,all cool.This,absolutely not.
I was suddenly in the bizarre position of thinking about what was going wrong with the thing doing my thinking.My brain was trying to diagnose its own malfunction.
Was this a stroke?
In any television producer's career,especially if he comes up through local news,he usually does enough stories about "Stroke Awareness Month" or similar causes that he comes to know the warning sign by heart.I did.I ran down the list.
"There's a lot of traffic,"I said.
I said this to the only other person around,the driver of a black Cadillac Escalade into whose rear seat I had dropped a few minutes before,back in my healthy era.
Everying seemed to be working properly except,of course,my head.I knew where I was, on Massachusetts Avenue in Washington.I knew when it was, Wednesday, April 28, 2010.So is seemed reasonable to conclude tomorrow's newspaper would not feature an obituary nothing the passing of MSNBC's Christopher A.Licht,38，husband of Jenny and father of Andrew, twenty months.