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02/04/2010

Thanks Joe, and Happy Birthday!

When you think about it, Joe is a complete pain. I had to have him bailed out of a Tehran jail one time.
 
Seems he couldn't sleep, and decided to go out and take some still photo's in the capitol city of one of the world's most repressive regimes. And the building he just couldn't resit taking pictures of happened to be the offices of the secret police. When I woke up and Joe wasn't in his room, I didn't know what had happened. Had he been kidnapped? His room had cables and computers and equipment scattered all over it...was that a sign of a struggle?
 
Well, we got that little mess straightened out, and we didn't miss any stories or live shots and it turned in to another story to tell. We have a million of them. (As his wife, Barara points out, nobody wants to hear our stories, but we have a million of them.)
 
Joe Tesauro is the photographer/editor/engineer/magician with whom I travel the world for Eyewitness News. For a dozen years or so, he has been my American Express card: I never leave home without him. And with good reason. Joe has gotten me on TV from places nobody gets on TV. From war zones on three continents, from hurricanes in the south, from Michael Jackson's rented home in California. Most of the time, I have no idea how he does it, I just know that at the right time, Joe will have some strange set-up or mix-up of cables and boxes and trap doors and when I start talking, you hear me and see me in your living room.
 
Mind you, he's complaining and whining the whole time. "How am I supposed to make this work," "We don't have enough time," "moan, moan, whine." And then, once again, its all together and we get on. You have to tune it out, really.
 
In Kandahar last week, it was the same as always. There was some issue about changing our digital signal into someone else's analog signal and the guy Joe was working with said, matter of factly, that it couldn't be done, the two systems were incompatible. But Joe had some box with him. I shouldn't pretend to understand it. Wires crossed, lights flashed, sirens wailed, and suddenly systems never designed to work together s started singing "Hosanna in the Highest" in perfect harmony and, once again, I was on TV back in New York.
 
During the week, Joe and I had the  following conversations:
 
Me: "Joe, I can't find my ear piece."
 
Joe: "I have a spare. Can't you hold on to anything?"
 
Me: "Joe, the microphone fell out the helicopter."
 
Joe: "I have a spare. Can't you hold on to anything."
 
So, Yesterday was Joe's birthday. We have spent many of his birthdays together in foreign city's, and this was the same as all of them: around twenty hours of continuous work, shooting stories, editing them, and figuring out a path to get them to you. Happy birthday, Joe. Now, go get three hours of sleep, and we'll do it all again tomorrow.
 
I get e-mails from home telling me they liked a piece or two. I take all the credit. Joe's back needs about four Advil.
 
I haven't even mentioned that Joe is an artist with his camera and editing computer. Mind you, he is excruciatingly slow at editing and whines like a two year old when I have written a phrase he doesn't think works with the pictures he's shot, but again, you learn to tune it out. Because at the end of the whining is a story that is better than it had any right to be, because he made it work.
 
We have traveled the world together. As John Prine says, we could build a castle with memory's. And many of them would never have happened, unless Joe had been there to make them work.Or if I hadn't been there to bail him out of jail.  
 
So happy birthday, Joe. Thanks for heading out with me.Thanks for getting me on. Thanks for working so hard and getting none of the credit.  
 
Now...Wanna go to Yemen? 
 

Comments

Mary Beth

What a nice tribute to him.. (Happy Birthday,Joe) sounds like a good friend and a great match for your lack of organizational skills.
Ooopss..did I say that? Come home safely!

Ann Marie

What an awesome tribute Joe!!!! Charlie and I enjoyed reading it and send our love and best wishes for a Happy Birthday and safe return home!!! Regards to Jim Too!!!!

hanna

hello you two ..i know exactly how you both feel each other ..i also know you will never want to have it any other way ..and when you both are very old sitting in a rocking chairs..you will remember those days with love ..not hate for the war ..may be, you will even thanks all those disasters for bringing you two together ..joe wife is greatly mistaken ..we all want to hear your stories ..specially behind the scene stories like this one ..keep it up joe and jim ..and come home to your rocking chairs

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