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'Do You Work At Radio Shack?' And Other Perils Of Reporting Around Kids

These 5-year-old kids may look sweet, but keep them away from your microphone!
Peter O'Dowd
These 5-year-old kids may look sweet, but keep them away from your microphone!

Kids are dangerous. Kids around microphones, anyway.

I learn this every time I step foot in a school. The little buggers look at me with wild eyes. Actually they're looking at the microphone attached to me and I've come to learn exactly what they're thinking.


"Hey, what are you doing?" someone always asks. And then -- and I'm not sure if this happens because they're purposefully trying to eradicate my eardrums, or if its because they just cannot resist the urge to become the next American Idol -- that little person screams bloody murder into the windscreen.

Just a few weeks ago, a kid ran toward me on the playground at St. Matthew's school near downtown Phoenix. I instinctively turned down the volume on my recorder just before he let loose with a banshee scream.

"Like an ol' pro," I thought to myself.

When he was done demonstrating the capacity of his lungs, the kid put me back in my place.

"Do you work at Radio Shack?" he asked.

"Um, kind of," I said.

In truth, that was a hilarious question. And in truth, I really like kids. Especially at school, because they're like little sound machines, always guaranteed to make the story a little more interesting.

Adults are shy, and terrified of "sounding dumb."

But kids are also germ machines. My eardrums survived St. Matthew's, but my immune system did not. I came home from school that day with a miserable cold, and spent the rest of the week in bed.

Like I said, kids are dangerous.