In my lifetime, I have done my share of nerve-wracking things. The first ones that come to mind are moving halfway across the world, performing Shakespeare in front of thousands of people, and giving my phone number to a cute but obtuse accordion player1
But I have never in my life been as nervous as I was today when I started my job as intern for “Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me.” I was freaking out. Like breathing into a paper sack freaking out. Panicked to the point of talking like Yoda2.
Why? Honestly, I’m not entirely sure. It definitely had to do with me loving this show more than almost anything in the world3 and I just so badly wanted them to like me. On top of all the stress that always comes with a first day, namely knowing the other employees have jobs to do other than babysit you but still being unable to function independently of them, I was disproportionately concerned about making a stellar first impression on the people whose names and voices I have been listening to and loving on the radio for so long.
But, after a few hours of crippling anxiety, extreme even for me, the day turned out kind of awesome. I got to shake hands with Peter Sagal4, participate in my very first Sandwich Monday, listen to messages from people who drunk dial the Wait Wait voicemail, read a steady stream of emails which all included ridiculous news stories, and watch videos of the Gloucester Cheese Rolling competition5. I have my own computer, an email that ends in “@npr.org,” and an alarmingly life-like portrait of Carl Kasell hanging in my cubicle, as though a constant reminder that Carl is watching. Always watching.
So as far as first days go, this was a good one. If it is any indicator for the rest of the summer, it’s gonna be amazing.
- “Mackenzi, my name is. Intern, I am here to be.”
- Other than sweater weather and diet coke.
- And definitely had a moment where he was talking to me and I started grinning like a moron because all I could think was “….that’s Peter Sagal!”
- If you have not seen this, please go immediately to youtube and let yourself be entertained.