I don’t know who said it. It happened on one of those road trips from long ago. Something funny. It may have been at a Huntsville Wal-Mart parking lot at 3am or it could have been in North Pole, Oklahoma on a Saturday afternoon. Three words with extra emphasis on the first.
“THAT just happened.”
Maybe it was Austin. Maybe it was Galveston. It could have been West Texas, where the rolling plains give way to flat, unforgiving country that appears to be terribly boring. Phrases like this were usually the follow-up to something that broke the silence and the distance.
I’m almost sure it wasn’t West Texas, but that doesn’t matter.
“THAT just happened.” It’s something that’s usually said out loud just after a burst of laughter. You might say it if you’ve ever seen first hand what’s featured on the website http://www.peopleofwalmart.com/ or the awful antics of people who post last night’s text messages on the vulgar http://www.textsfromlastnight.com/
I’ve heard it many times before and each time I have to smile.
That’s probably because it carries over to the profession. Journalism these days is all about social media, two-way communication, and technology. Those are some new ways to get tell the story.
But one of the principal tenets of the craft that remain the same: We’re supposed to do our best to tell people, “THAT just happened.”