Monday, January 18, 2010

Dark Memories Of A Jumper

 In jolly old England, a radio disc jockey is being criticized for playing the Van Halen classic "Jump" as police stopped traffic and tried to prevent a woman from jumping off a bridge.

Here's the account as reported by a London newspaper.

I'm not the most politically correct person on the planet but this behavior by a smart-ass disc jockey is irresponsible. Fortunately, the woman survived the 30-foot leap.

The efforts people in the business will go to increase ratings oftentimes reaches the bizarre. The good ones with the best drive-time ratings push the envelope to a line of humor and tragedy. Most of the time it is a funny practical joke played by the two Toronto DJs on Sarah Palin when she was a vice presidential candidate and in this linked story where Tony Blair, the UK prime minister, was the butt of a prank.

This story conjured images of a night I regret taking part. I was assigned to cover a jumper from the highway overpass connecting the famous Balboa Park in San Diego. I shared a cab with a reporter on the morning paper.

Upon arrival, the reporter leaped out of the taxi, ran towards the bridge yelling "Jump! I'm on deadline."

The poor bloke jumped. The 60-foot fall was predictable. It was the last time I spoke a word to that jerk. While his comments made him a legend among the ghoulish newspaper fraternity, it turned out he was more emotionally troubled than the victim we covered that terrible night.

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