|Dangerspouse Rides Again|
Garage - Track
Jan. 01, 2005 - 3:05 p.m.
Nonetheless, I slept guilt-free and soundly until the 5am Wallace&Gromit wake-up chimes sounded. That left me enough time to make a batch of Chicken Picatta for lunch, down a fistfull of Midol to quiet the timpany player behind my eyes, and run a bar of Old Spice deodorant over my body (the mere thought of a 45 psi pulsating showerhead aimed at my skull was agonizing).
I don't normally drink coffee, but this morning I definitely needed it. Eschewing the diluting properties of water, I just ran a pound of NewWifey(tm)'s Starbucks House Blend through the grinder and toted that to work in a baggie. I'm now shovelling in a three spoonfuls an hour, dry. It helps, but now it looks like someone snuck into my mouth and varnished my teeth with a rich oak stain.
Once at work, things really got interesting. When radio Mecha-Streisand (Westwood One) purchased our company they instituted a new holiday policy for us wonks. To wit: "Booze, not bonuses". Every Christmas, Easter, July 4th and New Year, our crappy kichenette cubicle has delivered to it 7 cases of Korbel, unchilled. And every Christmas, Easter, July 4th and New Year all 7 cases are emptied in the span of one 8 hour shift.
I don't think I have to tell you that there is a *slight* reduction in the quality of the product we put out during these times.
So when I first opened the door to our studios I was not suprised to see 20 or 30 dark green Korbel bottles strewn along the hall, right down through the news bullpen. One of the producers was asleep under his console, and the others looked like it would only take a handful more of their neurons shutting down for them to join him.
The announcers seemed to be fairing a little bit better, but from listening to several of them during my trip in I knew they weren't exactly sticklers for moderation. Leading into a story about the devestation in Thailand with a giggle because the area's called "Phucket" will, I'm sure, end up on an aircheck tape played at next year's Christmas party. Or maybe at an FCC hearing.
The company also provided several platters of food, which takes some of the sting out of being tossed warm domestic Champagne as a bonus instead of cash. Radio people LOVE free food - it's how the whole payola scandals of the 60's almost brought down the industry, as a matter of fact. (If Brian Epstein hadn't had a corporate account with Carnegie Deli, Alan Freed wouldn't have ever dropped the needle on a Beatles' 45. Which might have worked out better for Paul anyway, because he probably then never would have married Screaching Cancer-Vegan Linda, followed by an amputee.)
So I wasn't suprised to see news desks overflowing with soiled paper plates and crumpled holiday napkins. What I was suprised to see was the company's choice of fare that was sent over.
They sent clams.
I shit you not - every open space on the shelf running between our fax machine and copier held a deorative tray piled with Clams Casino, Clams Rockefeller, Clams Oregonata, Steamers, quart containers each of New England and Manhattan Clam Chowder, and a large order of Clams Fra Diabolo over linguini.
I couldn't understand it. The company ALWAYS, and to accolades, sends pizza when they bless us with their largess. Radio types LOVE pizza - most of us were weaned on it.
Then I walked into my studio and looked over the commercials I had to read for my show, and I understood: every other piece of copy was a spot for the Italian seafood restaurant down the street.
They'd gotten our holiday food on trade!
Cheap bastards. This company pulls down more money than the GDP of a medium sized EU country, and they couldn't spring for a couple of pepperoni's with extra cheese.
Oh well, free food is free food. You won't find this Wop doing anything so blasphemous as complain about it.
Ten hours of clams sitting at room temperature, fermenting.
I have to say, the Italian joint certainly gave us our money's worth. Judging from all the empty clam shells littering every available surface I'd say they sent over an entire spawning bed. The overnight crew had managed to rip through all but about 2 platters of Clams Casino and Oreganato. They were visibly growing Salmonella bacillus by the time I showed up.
It's not like I particularly minded having to rely on the chicken dish I'd prepared. But there is something inherently tragic about missing free food by a mere matter of hours, at least to an Italian.
So I sat in my broadcast studio, giving halfhearted reports and glumly staring out at the party aftermath in between them all.
Two hours later my buddy and fellow announcer Dave arrived for work.
I've known Dave for 10 years now, having instantly bonded with him when, after my very first day at the New Job, he came up to me and said "You really sucked. There's a titty bar down the street - let's go get drunk and forget about it." And we did, and have been friends ever since.
Dave will eat anything he finds lying around, like most career radio men. But his situation has dramatically intensified the last few weeks since learning that his own new wife is now pregnant. He has that haunted, desperate look that all men get when they learn there will soon be competition for their toys (when their woman isn't looking, that is). And with that, whatever miniscule shred of discrimination he ocassionally showed when shoosing foodstuffs flew out the window.
Dave walked in the door, looked at the now green tinged clams, and immediately grabbed a paper plate.
I ran over and grabbed his elbow as he reached for the first platter. It was like trying to stop a pile driver.
"Dave!" I cried. "These things have been sitting out since 9 o'clock last night!"
He looked down at the clams, which were just beginning to vibrate a little from bacterial activity.
"Oh." he said.
And he placed 6 on his plate.
He carried them back to his studio and ate them - without even reheating first - while he did his show prep.
I carried on with my show, slogging through indiferent reports of minor accidents on the roads and unusually warm conditions around the region. Around 10am I decided to nuke some of my chicken.
Halfway through my meal I saw a blur shoot past my studio window. I had several minutes before my next report, so I went do investigate.
I didn't have to go far.
Five feet from the bathroom door (and porcelain relief) lay Dave, facedown on his knees, rump in the air, spewing clams and remnants of holiday cookies all over the tiled floor. Everything came up. And he was as green as a fresh cut Christmas tree.
I've been Dave's friend for 10 years. He helped me haul all my furniture and shit when I moved from my bachelor hovel into Dangerhouse and didn't want to pay professional movers. He's bought me lap dances at The Navel Base for my birthday every year since 1996. He jumped in to save my ass in a bar fight once and got his arm broken. Dave is a True Friend.
I quietly backed away, leaving him lying in a spreading pool of his own vomit.
Hey, I told him the clams were bad! You can lead a horse to water....
I did, however, rush to his studio and filled in for all the reports he was missing, and he thanked me for the kindness a half hour later when he literally came crawling back. He definitely looked thinner, but at least something resembling a human color was returning to his face. Dave's tough. Over the next 4 hours I saw him hustle to the bathroom 9 or 10 times, but unlike his first attempt he actually reached the toilets on these.
Well, work is finally over and I get to go home to my own (UN-pregnant) wife.
I think I'll stop on my way home and pick up some Italian.
But...not clams, thanks.
Unless they're free, of course.
Ciao kids - watch what you eat!