|Dangerspouse Rides Again|
Garage - Track
Mar. 01, 2004 - 11:41 a.m.
Happy days are here again
The skies above are clear again
Let us sing a song of cheer again
Oh Happy Days are here again!
Listen, I don't normally like to let two entries go by without at least one of them being a recounting of some disasterous misadventure of mine. Hey, I know my audience. But this time, I just can't hold back from shouting this wonderful news from the mountaintop.
LENNIE WAS FIRED!!!
Pardon me, will you?
One more time, Maestro:
Happy days are here again
The skies above are clear again
Let us sing a song of cheer again
Oh Happy Days are here again!
I work with two dirtbags. Two Grade-A Pure, unadulturated assholes. Walking carp, half-human garbage. When I'm with them I fantasize I'm performing the old Roman torture of shoving thin glass rods up their penises. Then I tap with a mallet just hard enough to shatter the glass inside...and let 'em go free. Between two and five days later they'll be dead, after having entertained me with their screams of agony and spastic tarantellas.
Asshole Number One
This is JG.
JG is a recognised name in our little world of traffic reporting. He's been on the air here about 15 years, gets quoted in print and on TV, and actually does know his shit. But he is a dirtbag of the first order.
You don't get rich being a radio traffic reporter. But JG managed to marry into a family of high powered attorneys and now has a house down the shore, a yacht, and a stock portfolio rivalling Donald Trumps. I know all this because JG manages to slide all three facts into any conversation I have with him, every time I see him, which is 5 days a week.
Now I have nothing against people who make good and obviously enjoy it. NewWifey(tm) is fully aware that I'd sail away on the S.S. Good Life, leaving her sobbing back at the dock, if Oprah decided I was the Vanilla Pop she'd always wanted. So it's not that.
But at least if I were to hit the Ill Gotten Gains Lottery jackpot, I'd stop being a grasping, hoarding, self-centered prick. Or at least I'd like to think. But not JG. Here are two stories from the past year that illustrate his basic reprehensible nature, unaltered by his massive cash infusion:
a. A couple of months ago one of the Producers stopped at a bagel store on his way to work and purchased 3 dozen assorted, with tubs of cream cheese, butter and jelly. Used his own money, didn't ask for any contributions. Just put 'em all on a table in our break room and pinned a note to the front door letting us know they were there. We have a lot of great people where I work, and this is not an uncommon gesture. It's also a gesture that everybody loves, since we're all on high-carb diets in this business. This was at 5am when the night shift was leaving and the morning drive crew was taking over. The Producer made sure he'd purchased enough so those getting off work could have a free bagel also. What a guy!
Well at 5:05am, after his first report was over, one of the morning drive announcers went back to the break room to grab a poppy seed beauty. There he saw JG gathering up all the bagels into a large sack and carrying them out of the room, with the cream cheese, butter and jelly tubs perched on top. He looked like The Grinch. And he is. The announcer asked JG what he was doing. JG cheerfully relpied, "If they're for free, they're for me!" and walked out the door to his car carrying the swag.
We're talking 36 bagels here. I don't know how hungry JG was, but I can tell you that fresh bagels don't last very long before going hard as his heart. He could probably get through one full dozen, with butter, by the time he pulled into his driveway. But then he'd have to shoehorn another dozen into his 3 year old son, and a further 12 into his wife. But then, that's assuming he'd share with them. I have a pretty good idea that he ate four or five, then threw out the rest. Before he got home for the family to see.
b. One day last summer I was on the air and JG skipped giddily into my studio. He wanted to relate to me how, on his way to work, he'd triumphed over Corporate America. Here's the tale he was so proud of:
He pulled in to the Drive-Thru of a Burger King that morning and ordered a burger and a chocolate shake. When he pulled up to the checkout window, he handed the young lady a 5 dollar bill and took his sack of food, and change. He opened his sack immediately and saw they'd given him a vanilla shake, not chocolate. He pointed it out to the girl. The girl went to rectify the error, but returned and told JG that they were out of chocolate, and the kid filling the order just substituted vanilla without asking. She apologised. JG accepted the apology, but said he didn't want the order any more in that case. He handed the sack and change back, and asked for his money to be returned. She dutifully handed him a 5 dollar bill.
JG: Oh no you don't. I gave you a 20.
Now, JG has one of those stentorian Radio Voices that goes with the territory, and he used it to full effect here. The poor girl was probably all of 16, and immediately became flustered. She dipped into the till and came back with a 20. JG thanked her and drove off.
I can't tell you how absolutely flushed JG was about his victory over some High School junior who was probably pulling down $6 per hour. I pointed out that it was going to be the girl herself, not the Evil Overlords, who would have to make up the difference her register was short. That probably represented 3 hours of her work shift that she'd now toiled at for no pay. JG he was unimpressed. "They got the order wrong. I wasted at least 5 minutes of my time without getting any food. I deserve to be compensated!"
Asshole Number Two
Lennie the Troll. Lennie is called "the Troll" because he lives under a bridge and gnaws on the bones of coworkers. Coworkers who have killed themselves to escape working with him. The first thing you notice about Lennie, after your eyes stop tearing from the smell, is that he is a dead ringer for "Louie" from Taxi.
Of course that doesn't make him inherently Evil, just odious. What does make him inherently Evil is his combination of sloth, stupidity and arrogance. This is in sharp contrast to JG, who is intelligent and scheming. But both are equally dangerous.
Lennie is a Producer. For those of you who are not traffic reporters, the Producers are those diligent folk who gather information and then transmit it to Announcers (ie: me) in the studios. We are dependant on them, without whom we'd have nothing to say. If a Producer makes a mistake at the desk, it's the Announcer who usually catches hell. The public (ie: you) doesn't realize that the announcer is just an empty talking head, see. So they blame the reporter. That's why us Announcers have a vested interest in seeing that our Producers are of the highest quality, and well fed and cared for. If they're smart and content, we sound smart and effortless. It's symbiotic whoring.
Well, Lennie is neither smart nor content. He was hired some years ago when we were desperate for Producers and would have hired a chimp with Down's Syndrome had it applied for the position. And that's pretty much what they got when they hired Lennie. I don't think Lennie would have lasted long, but shortly after he was hired the Producers Unionised (affixing themselves to the Writers' Guild). So then...he couldn't be fired, at least without a fight. And our company is nothing if not cowardly in the face of fights, so on he stayed.
And on. And on.
Lennie figured out he wasn't gonna get shit-canned early on, and took full advantage of it. He worked the overnight hours, from 10pm - 6am, during which time he was supposed to make phone calls to various agencies and keep scanning the bank of montitors in front of him, looking for accidents. I can't tell you how many times I came in for my 3am start and found all 15 monitors tuned to the Honeymooners, while his traffic computer was being used to surf guitar sites. Normally I don't have a problem with guys goofing off at work. But this was different. In the 7 years I worked with him, a half dozen announcers were fired for reporting false information on the air...information they were told by Lennie was correct. But the station owners didn't want to hear that. They wanted the ANNOUNCER'S head to roll. So every shift I did with him as my producer I was sweating bullets.
Finally, finally, last week all the goats I had been sacrificing paid off. This stupid fucking waste of semen was cracking up over Conan while 5 kids walking across Sunrise Highway on Long Island were mowed down by a Ford Explorer, killing two and condemning the other 3 to a lifetime of free Handicapped Parking stickers. But it was worth it. While Sunrise Highway stayed shut for five hours, and local and national TV and print journalists converged on the scene, we at Traffic Central remained blissfully unaware.
THIS time there was no escape for Lennie. At 5am the bosses at WCBS, WINS, WBBR and numerous smaller affiliates were melting our phone lines trying to find out why NONE of their stations were reporting the tragedy on Long Island. My boss, only able to get his coat half off before the tirades started, and with a frosted cruller clenched in his teeth, had to endure a non-stop torrent of fury for over three hours. He emerged from his office sweating, his face the color of grape Kool Ade. He asked for Lennie's phone number and returned to his office. An hour later Lennie returned, in the first tie I had ever seen him wear. I think he sensed trouble.
Trouble was not long in coming, either. I heard afterwards that Lennie tried to weasle out of it by claiming that he'd heard there was an accident, but wasn't able to confirm it. Which was bullshit, since all the networks and every cable station - except the one showing Conan and The Honeymooners - were breaking in to their programming with live footage of the disaster. Pleading ignorance was the worst thing he could have done. They fired him on the spot.
He's threatened to file a grievance with the Union for unjust termination, and he probably will. In the meantime though, his postition has already been filled.
With a retard!
I'm not kidding. A while back we hired a bona fide Short Bus alumnus to answer phones and do general gophering. Despite his overt drooling and inability to pass the state driving exam however, we've been able to teach him a bit of the producing game. And he's one of those retards who becomes single-mindedly fixated on any task given to him. No distractions can tear him away from something he furrows his mighty brow towards. So they decided to give him a shot producing solo on the overnight hours. Since the company can get away with paying him in Pogs instead of money, they were all the more eager to see this work out.
And you know what? It has worked out so far. Despite the fact that this new Producer has the IQ of a used Kleenex, his stories read like D.H. Lawrence next to the bilge that Lennie forced on us. Farewell, Lennie Troll, and may flocks of angels guide you to the poorhouse. And your ugly wife and kid, too.
Speaking of which, I did not fail to express my appreciation for those who were ultimately responsible for this brightening of my horizons. This morning I mailed off "Thank You" cards and and a bottle of domestic Champagne (non-vintage) to the parents of each of those five brave, selfless children. Their sacrifice meant so much to me! I only hope their sterling example will be an inspiration to others their age. Who knows how many Trolls we can get fired if they only put their minds - and bodies - into it! Maybe even JG.
Ok, enough. Next time: back to actual stories of funny things happening. And there have been many. I just had to get this out of my system. Joy overfloweth, and all that.
Cross at the light, kids....