One Year Later

Clicking "New Post" is easy. Watching the text line blink at you is hard. 

what a goon

what a goon

I didn't really know what to say when I first started writing this. I think the main thing for me is that this has been such a momentous year that if I don't write it down, I'll somehow forget where I really started. 

It's funny to think that this all got started with just a simple phone call. 

Thursday, December 8th, 2016.

Generic congratulations. Welcome to MSNBC. You start in five days. 

End call. I screamed.

My mom sprinted into my room. We hugged. I could tell she was excited for me to get the fuck out of the house. My Asian father patted me on the shoulder said words I'll never forget.

"Wow, finally."

SAN - EWR AS 772

The flight from San Diego to New York is five hours. I listened to Sinatra the whole flight. Not even an album. Just the one song.

By the time I checked into my hotel, I was pretty badly jet-lagged.

Around midnight, I decided to go for a walk.

I ended up sitting on a bench facing the 30 Rock Christmas tree. 

As I looked past the tree, into the offices and newsrooms of 30 Rock, with the TV screens, computer monitors, and cameras, it really hit me that I had made it. The California kid with no journalism degree, who had some radio experience, who had applied to tens of jobs with no response back from any of them, had made it. 

And so, on that bench, surrounded by Christmas decorations and confused tourists, I wept. 

I'm walking here

I had to get used to life in New York pretty quick. 

I learned to avoid frozen sidewalks after bruising my ass in February, quickly understood that subways were somehow faster than getting around in cars, and deduced that the pizza-eating monster rats are no big deal. 

I started using cross-streets to identify locations. 97th and Park. 49th and 5th. 32nd and Broadway. My apartment. My work. K-Town. 

I cross the streets as soon as the WALK signal appears. I loudly complain about the lack of a Trader Joe's in the UES. 

I blame my lateness on the subway, even when it's not because of the subway. 

The guy who runs a food cart off my subway knows my regular order and asks me where I've been if he haven't seen me for a few days. 

Do those things make me a New Yorker? Maybe not. Maybe I'm still a tourist just doing the motions. But I did catch myself loudly saying "I hate tourists" at group of children blocking the sidewalk. 

So maybe I have properly assimilated. 

Meeting the press

The first time I pitched something to Chuck Todd, my hands were shaking so much I could barely type. He loved the story. It made air. 

Get into the control room. Stack the show. Fix the graphics. Make sure that one doesn't show the words "Golden showers." 

Clap loudly at the end of every show. Bemuse the coworkers with my enthusiasm. Do it again the next day. 

New tweets. New headlines. New graphics.

Comey was fired ten minutes into our show. 

Nuclear armageddon was around the corner (maybe)? 

Spicer. Priebus. The Mooch.

I worked through it all. I've aged a decade in the last year alone. I fucking love it. This is arguably the most insane time to be a journalist, and I count my blessings every day. And that's the truth. No fake news here. 

It wasn't all bad, though. 

Remember this?

Oh man, good times. 

deez nutz --> dis nut

deez nutz --> dis nut

And then this shit happened.

September 5th. A lump.

September 20th. An ultrasound.

September 21st. A tumor. 

October 4th. A surgery. 

October 10th. A phone call.

It was a stage one cancer tumor. Not too bad. I wish my doctor had just told me straight up that I was cancer free but I had to coax those words out of him. But for the next five to ten years of my life, I will need need CT scans and observation.

Did you know that if I get cancer anywhere else in my body, and it derived originally from the testicles, then it's still considered testicular cancer?

As if this couldn't get any worse, I could get nut cancer in my lungs. Fuck this disease.

A lot has happened this year. It's been wild. New job, new friends, new city, a new life. 

I learned a lot, too. About politics. About health care. About professionalism. About comedy. 

If you've made it this far into the blog post, I encourage you to think back on what happened to you this year and contemplate what changed and what didn't. Write them down and think about how 2017 changed or shaped you. 

I'm glad that 2017 has given me so many opportunities and possibilities.

Here's to 2018.