Oh My Heck, It's Another Conference Diary
Snide Remarks #48
"Oh My Heck, It's Another Conference Diary"
by Eric D. Snider
Published in The Daily Universe on October 5, 1998
The reason there was no traffic this weekend is that it was general conference and everyone was inside watching it on TV, or at least pretending to watch it for the sake of their roommates.
But if you only watched it on TV, as opposed to being right there in the Tabernacle, well, buddy, you haven't lived. Since you weren't there (or at least I didn't see you), I'll give you my account of the Sunday morning session.
9:11 a.m.-- Three NewsNet reporters -- Adam, Samantha and Marissa -- and I arrive at Temple Square, dressed professionally and ready to do our journalistic duty in covering conference. Adam promptly breaks the clip off his press pass.
9:14 -- We enter the Tabernacle and sit in the press section. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has finished its rehearsal for the "Music and the Spoken Word" broadcast. Clay Christiansen is making a hideous noise on the organ by playing two notes on two different keyboards that were never intended to be played simultaneously. We wish he would stop. After, like, a million minutes, he finally does. What was he doing, tuning it? It sounded terrible, but he was doing it on purpose. Maybe he was trying to blow the rats out of the pipes, I don't know.
9:42 -- During the "Music and the Spoken Word" thing, announcer Lloyd Newell introduces an organ solo, and I silently hope it's going to sound better than whatever that rat-blowing thing was. Newell says the piece is "the ever-popular 'Prince of Denmark March.'" I am dubious as to the "ever-popular" part, but the piece sounds pretty nice. As I listen, I close my eyes and try to picture the Prince of Denmark marching somewhere, but instead I fall asleep.
9:48 -- I notice that the journalist sitting in front of me has a cool little computer/planner/organizer thing. Through the time-honored journalistic practice of looking over the guy's shoulder, I see that one of his tasks for Monday is to "call Elder Marlin K. Jensen." He is also supposed to call a guy named Troy. To me, it seems more likely that he will accomplish the second task than the first.
10:10 -- During his talk, President James E. Faust mentions some cows that were starving on his grandfather's farm during the Depression. It occurs to me that I am also very hungry. "As hungry as a cow" seems like a good figure of speech to put into circulation.
10:13 -- A cameraman from a certain Salt Lake TV station shows up, 13 minutes late and dressed like he's about to go paint somebody's house. He sets up his camera, shoots approximately two seconds of tape, then packs up and leaves again. Maybe he's going to get something to eat. Maybe he's "as hungry as a cow." (See? It works really well.)
10:29 -- Elder Neal A. Maxwell makes a joke about his almost-bald head, and everyone laughs.
10:36 -- Elder Maxwell makes another joke, but this one has a lot of big words in it, and only the smart people get it. I am not among them. I believe it is safe to say that neither is Adam, who is still trying to fix his press pass.
10:38 -- Elder Maxwell quotes the apostle Paul about people who want to "eat, drink and be merry," and it occurs to me that I'm still hungry. "As hungry as a heathen" seems a little better than my previous attempt at a new colloquialism.
10:47 -- Elder David E. Sorensen mentions "cattle" in some context. I briefly consider going back to the cow thing again, but decide against it.
11:02 -- Sister Susan Lillywhite Warner begins to speak. I mean no disrespect toward Sister Warner, but how did "Lillywhite" become a name? Isn't "lilly-white" an unflattering way of describing a person? How did that make it to namehood, while "Pastywhite" and "Sissyboy" are still considered rude?
11:17 -- Elder Richard G. Scott begins to speak -- on morality, oddly enough. Listening to him is not nearly as terrifying in person as it is on TV, because in the Tabernacle, there's no way he can stare right at you, his words piercing your soul even when you haven't done anything wrong. (Well, I guess he COULD stare at you, but he could only stare at one person at a time, and what are the odds it would be you? I mean, come on. Quit being so paranoid, man.)
11:25 -- Adam continues to work on his press pass, but it seems doubtful that he is going to repair it.
11:30 -- Elder Scott counsels young men to go on missions, and young women to "follow the inspired counsel of President Hinckley in the October 1997 conference" on the subject of whether or not they should go on missions. If you are like most guys, you probably remember President Hinckley's counsel as being: "NO MORE SISTER MISSIONARIES!" However, that is not entirely accurate. (I believe his original quotation was not in all-caps.)
11:50 -- The audience is surprised that President Hinckley has done a "question-and-answer" type of talk, and has even mentioned Larry King, and yet has not addressed the issues of President Clinton's immorality or the editing of "Titanic."
11:52 -- Somewhere, for the 1,000,000th time, a journalist describes President Hinckley as "media-savvy."
11:58 -- Conference ends and Adam's press pass is still broken. This is a major black eye for the NewsNet organization, even worse than last week, when we called all female BYU students "girls" in a graphic on the front page.
12:14 -- We find the lunch provided by the church for all media personnel, and we gratefully partake. Good thing, because some of us were as hungry as ... oh, never mind.
Copyright © Eric D. Snider.
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