By Carl BR Johnson
In the tradition of my home city, Calgary, I say ‘Howdy’ to the people of Revelstoke. Yes Revelstoke, an invasion of your city is underway from Alberta, and not just from the skiers and snowmobilers.
I am a currently a student at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) in the Journalism Arts program and part of our curriculum was to find a newspaper to offer our services to, for a month, to gain practical work experience.
SAIT calls it a ‘practicum’ but most people will recognize the other, more familiar term, an internship.
In my historic dealings with picturesque Revelstoke, I chose to be a part of your city in this fashion because I could not think of a better place for a writer to be a writer.
Because you see, I have been here many times before throughout my life, and not just to pass through.
As a child, my family came to the Revelstoke area, to visit the Loop Brook campground.
I am delighted to see it still there, as we had many a memorable time there taking in the trails, roasting marshmallows on our campfires and reveling in our close encounters with grizzly bears.
We came into your refreshing city to explore the streets, enjoy the local eateries, and relax in its warm, small-town atmosphere.
Why Journalism for Carl?
For many years, I have worked in the Foothills Industrial Park in Calgary as a warehouse worker, going from job to job, without any real sense of purpose, simply working to live, so-to-speak.
It was a very boring and uneventful period in my life, which I have dubbed the ‘Dark Ages’.
But soon, that all changed dramatically.
In January of 2010 at the age of 34, I had a myocardial infarction, also known as a heart attack.
A frightful experience indeed and as I think of the psychological trauma that it caused, I fight to steal myself away from the memory.
It felt like someone was inside of my chest pushing outward with their thumb, and that thumb, felt like it had been heated to about 1000 degrees and the pain became worse and worse, with every heartbeat.
Near-death experiences will change a person, to the point where they question their direction in life and whether or not it’s justified or wasteful.
I decided my path in life was wasteful.
So I changed that direction to pursue the life of a writer and journalist, something that I have always thought of doing but never had the courage.
I suppose the other motivation for that choice came in the summer of 1979, at the tender age of four, when I saw the movie Superman.
I mean the first Superman movie, with Christopher Reeve.
As a boy, I looked up to Superman, but I was searching for a way that I could emulate him, and of course since flying around and lifting impossibly heavy objects was out, I found a more down-to-earth solution.
In his off-hours, he was a journalist.
That left an indelible impression on me, and since then I have always associated journalists with being the good-guys, the ones who bring to light those voices that might be left in the dark.
They’re idealists, as it were, who don’t compromise the victim, and the one who will be a royal pain on the public stage until the issue they have, has been resolved.
They fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.
Pretty grandiose right? Perhaps.
But hey, it’s what Superman would do.
Contact Carl BR Johnson with your story ideas or news tips at 250-837-4667.