When the Job Tries to Kill You

First bad sign: when you get up on the day of an outdoor shoot, and the first thing you see on Twitter is a Heat Advisory.

I had been asked by an old friend to run a camera on his latest industrial video project: a sort of Amazing Race clone, where the teams were made of summer interns at a local engineering firm. I was one of four cameraman, the oldest, with the most experience – feeling, I suppose, that I could at least be counted on to get establishing shots at the various locations.

Each cameraman was assigned to ride with a specific team. Of course, yours truly found himself with a team of enthusiastic go-getters more than half his age. Who took the “race” part seriously, were determined to win, and literally ran everywhere.

Good God.

There were four objectives. I managed to keep up with them on the first two, but they literally left me in the dust in downtown Houston, between the Metro rail and Minute Maid Park. I watched (and taped) the rapidly receding backs, and sadly decided there was just no way I could do this. Hell, when I was their age, before the auto wreck and sundry other accidents that hobbled me, I couldn’t have done that.

I finally caught up with them at the end – gladly accepting a ride from one of the officials. The organizers themselves were almost caught flat-footed several times, as they arrived mere minutes before the first crew – mine, usually – made the scene. They hadn’t expected anyone to actually run.

Also had to personally intervene in the final judgement. My team was going to get penalized for losing me, and I pointed out that I had told them, “Do not wait for me. You are not going to lose this because you got saddled with an old fart for a cameraman.” And they didn’t. In Batman terms, they were good soldiers.

So, in lieu of actually getting footage of the events, I got interviews with each of the team members about what happened, of course ending with the question, “So… tell the people at home why there’s no footage of you being awesome at the last challenges?

I’m in serious pain today. Likely will be tomorrow. But at least one of the things I can say is: I have been on the playing field at Reliant Stadium. That was pretty cool.

And next time I’m telling my friend he had better be budgeting for a Segway.

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