Nothing happened today in my town. Truly, it was a day when NOTHING happened.
Tuesday morning pretty much started out like any Tuesday in our town People who still subscribed to newspapers and magazines found copies delivered on their front porches or in the mail. Web readers, after grabbing a cup of coffee, looked at their computers and mobile phones to read the latest local and world happenings. Early morning TV news viewers switched on the tube. Early risers, awakened by radios, tuned to news stations.
Like I said, the day began normally except every paper, mag, website and mobile screen displayed one line of type in a large font: “Nothing Happened Today.” On the radio, listeners heard the same repeated over and over. “Nothing Happened Today.”
Well, as you might imagine, people were at first a bit confused and dismayed. Some looked at the calendar to make sure it wasn’t April fools day. It wasn’t. Bolder types called the local editor’s office or sent an email to to whoever produces news for the Web. Local radio and TV stations were barraged with tons of phone calls. But all the answers were the same: “We’re sorry but our reporters couldn’t file stories because “nothing happened today.”
Nothing Happened Today. Let Me Tell You Why
Jack Perkins, the mayor of my town, made phone calls to news wires and radio and television stations. You could tell by the high pitch of his voice that he was mad and ready to rip into whoever was responsible for nothing happening. After several dozen calls, he called a meeting of leaders and explained the situation.
I watched as jaws dropped, ears twitched and perspiration appeared on foreheads. “Folks, I just spoke with most of the major media in our small metropolis. And the editors, writers, producers and others flatly told me that nothing happened on Earth in the past 24 hours.”
Silence entered the room like at a funeral home. After a long pause, Clarice Hawkings, the town gossip, started asking what was on most of our minds. “Well, what about the Gulf oil spill? Something must have happened down there. And didn’t Obama and those darn politicians in the beltway say or do anything? How about the obits? Someone must have died recently or the weather. Surely, something happened.”
“I asked all those questions, Clarice [Jack’s talking] and the news folks told me that nothing changed at the oil site–same as the day before–Obama’s on vacation at Camp David and left without saying a word. No one on the Hill had anything to comment on. Believe it or not, no one important died yesterday. And the weather is going to be the same today as it was 24 hours ago. So, nothing happened.”
But Clarice wasn’t about to let the mayor off the hook. “You mean to tell me, Jack, that I’m paying good money to get some news in the morning about anything that happened of importance and those lefty journalists can’t find anything? I mean, where’s the oil slick heading? And those oily beaches in Alabama. Come on, surely some birds died or a hurricane hit the Bahamas. It’s impossible for nothing to happen!”
Things were getting hot and heavy between Clarice and Jack. So everyone looked at Lou, the local town expert on Twitter, Facebook and all those online sites where everyone talks about something even if nothing happened
Lou said he checked his Twitter and Facebook pages. “Just like the papers, TV and radio,” he said,” all I saw on Twitter was ‘Nothing Happened Today.'” In fact, all his followers and Facebook friends were re-tweeting and writing on their walls the same thing. Then Twitter got flooded with re-tweets and the big whale appeared on his screen. He checked out Google for something newsworthy and saw a bunch of headlines all saying that nothing happened.
Lou sat down quickly because several of his Facebook friends and Twitter followers were in the room and he was kind of embarrassed to tell town leaders nothing happened. After all, there’s always something happening on social networking sites even if nothing happened.
As you might think by this time the 30-40 town leaders in the room were a bit baffled if not worried about what might not happen tomorrow since nothing happened today. It was a God-awful thought to think that office chatter and family conversations would immediately freeze due to lack of news.
Laura, the town optimist, blurted out “well, if nothing happened, then by all means let’s make something happen!” Most folks in the room, however, didn’t think that would solve the problem. But they were gentle with Laura and shut up.
Everyone walked out the room a bit dazed, hoping that Wednesday they’d wake up, quickly turn on the tube and radio, run outside to grab the paper and fire up their computers. Almost everyone was certain Wednesday would be a “normal” day–that is, a day when something happened.