Sunday, December 11, 2011

“Here’s Mike”

By Mike McCardell
These days every news outlet has its “salter”. That’s the industry term for the on-camera person who’s so sensitive to the little wonders around him/her, that they’re always stopping and smelling the flowers and then shoving them into everyone else’s face. (The term “salter” comes from an episode of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” where news anchor Ted Baxter, after surviving a heart attack, begins to appreciate the wonders of everything – starting with grains of salt.)
“Hey Mike”, by Mike McCardell (who’s been smelling the flowers for a local TV station for some time now) is full of salt - the minutia and ephemera others might miss. He’s a nicer Mickey Rooney. In the internet age of the nanosecond attention span, a book of McCardell’s meanderings would seem iffy but in execution it reads like letters from a friend (although the best thing McCardell ever did was catch a litterbug in the act - and on camera - and confront him, turning the segment into both a public service announcement and a “Judge Judy”).
Sure, the audience for “Hey Mike” is likely to be blue-haired and bingo-playing, but it’s a book that everyone can read – and appreciate. Maybe little “wow”s and shared “guess what I saw today”s are the new tradition of oral storytelling. “Hey Mike” solidifies McCardell as the God of Little Things.