Berkeleyan Masthead

This Week's Stories

Public Affairs' New Leader Brings Extensive Background

Boomtown Scars -- Then and Now

Profile: Ergonomics Specialist Mallory Lynch

Cooperative Theme House Provides Support, Eases Housing Crunch

Modern Custody Disputes and Child Welfare

Teen Crime: Myths and Facts

Photo: Body Work

Nobel Prize-Winner Presents Passionate Poetry and Prose

Berdahl Takes Campus Agenda to State Capitol

Photo: Powerful Pair

Japanese Foreign Affairs Official Visits Berkeley

Tamara Keith: Have I Gotten Boring Already?

Regular Features

Campus Memos

Letters to the Editor

News Briefs


Staff Enrichment


Have I Gotten Boring Already?

By Tamara Keith, Public Affairs
Posted January 27, 1999

Photo: Tamara Keith

Tamara Keith

It seems like when I was younger (and by that I mean 16 or 17 years old), my life was much more interesting than it is at present. Almost every day, something happened to me that held the kernel of an amusing anecdote. Now my daily schedule is packed, yet the good stories seem few and far between.

In high school I felt I was living the ideal life for good story telling. When I took my driving exam, I got stuck with the notorious "dragon lady," known for failing her victims. Even though I hit a curb and then mistakenly activated my windshield wipers, she passed me out of fear that I would expose her in my local newspaper column.

The summer before my senior year, my family loaded into the minivan for a forced-march vacation (31 states around the country in less than six weeks), meeting people with big hair, seeking out bizarre tourist traps like "Wall Drug" and "Big Texas," and producing nearly a novel full of comic encounters.

Once I called City Lights Bookstore for some sophomoric facts on Lawrence Ferlinghetti for a school report, only to discover that the person who answered the phone was the famous poet himself.

And my hometown fire chief wrote me up as a bad example in the local paper, after learning I had set off fireworks on a day other than July 4th.

Now, at 19, my life has slipped into a daily groove (not quite a grind yet). I work from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m., five days a week, with a couple hours off for class and commuting. In both my jobs, I wear reporter's shoes. I interview people with good stories to tell, write about interesting events and issues, and go to neat places like the State Capitol, the Central Valley and Telegraph Avenue in my quest for news stories.

Yet when I recount the minutia of my days, I don't get the laughs I did when I was younger. The entertainment value of my experiences is dwindling, it seems.

Did my life get boring without giving me proper notification? Have I forgotten how to identify the hidden gems in mundane occurrences? Have I lost my comic timing? Are college and work just not conducive to comedy? Or did I just grow up too much to be funny?

Whatever has my creative juices in a freeze is probably what enables me to work crazy hours and write in hard news style. I hope this cold, over-achieving side of my psyche can figure out how to mellow out. I would hate to look back at my life and feel that I got boring even before I left college.


January 27 - February 2, 1999 (Volume 27, Number 20)
Copyright 1999, The Regents of the University of California.
Produced and maintained by the Office of Public Affairs at UC Berkeley.
Comments? E-mail