|Dangerspouse Rides Again|
Garage - Track
Mar. 13, 2004 - 10:14 a.m.
Did I mention I was also drunk when I penned yesterday's little blast of libido? Are you suprised?
It's led to a new dictum being handed down by NewWifey(tm) though:
No drunken post-coital entries from now on.
In fact, no entries "post" anything from now on: coital, partum, haste, it-notes, menopausal, or anything else with the prefix "post". Verbotin, all.
The problem, see, was not that I spelled out intimate details of amorousness during a cartoon. But rather, the fact that immediately after the Big Bang I pushed her aside and bolted for the keyboard so I could tell all my Diaryland friends.
No cuddling. No moist towelette.
Just "Thanks! 'Scuse me..." and gone.
I used her like I use Bounty Paper Towels. Rip off a piece, soil it, then wad it up and toss aside when I'm done. It was just like college.
But apparently that's not good enough for her anymore.
Oh! Thanks to all the kind folk who left notes and e-mails telling me how the SpongeBob episode played out. I'm so relieved Sandy Cheeks stayed in Bikini Bottom. She's my favorite character. Probably because I'm a Furry. (Which also explains my attraction to Poolagirl).
Me and the fabuloso radiogurl were comparing war wounds the other day. We both earn our daily pittance behind a microphone, and even though she is still mired in Small Market Hell, her travails sound remarkably similar to the insanity I put up with here in Media Market #1. For those of you working in radio who think to yourself 'All I have to do is make it to a bigger market station. Then all this bullshit will be but a bad memory'...Sorry. The nightmare continues all the way up the ladder. Take my advice and get out now. Become a haberdasher. The world will always need its hats blocked.
For those of you who DON'T work in radio but WANT to, let me pass along a cautionary memory or two. And trust me - these are not atypical experiences in this business....
I started at WNNJ-AM, Newton New Jersey, in the waning months of 1989. I happened to show up looking for a job the very day their mid-day girl quit without notice. One of the owners was fumbling frantically through her shift. "If you show up tomorrow, the gig's yours" he told me. He didn't listen to my tape.
The next day...I was late for work.
The road I was taking to the station was being line-striped by crews who I think were down on their hands and knees using paint rollers. I could have walked up Rt.206 faster. I didn't own a cell phone. When I got to the station almost an hour later, I was hustled into the studio to start my very own music show.
The first thing I noticed was a large plastic Painter's tarp over everything. I mean everything; the mic, the record players, the cart machines, the cart racks...the entire console and everything around it was hidden under a huge blue sheet.
"We sprang a leak in the roof last month" the owner explained. "Until we find a roofer who will work on trade (do the work for free in exchange for commercials promoting his business) we have to keep the equiptment covered so you don't get electrocuted."
For the next three months I started every shift by crawling under a blue sheet and sweating for 5 hours. On days when it rained, the leak over the microphone was so bad that every time you went to talk it sounded like you were madly accompanying yourself on a snare drum at the same time.
The next summer a small animal - or maybe person - died behind the wallboard of our studio. Probably a squirrel who had chewed through the insulation and got trapped between the outer and inner walls. But we're not sure, because the owners would not lift a finger to find out. We knew it was there though, because the smell of rotting meat got stronger and stronger every day, making everyone in the building sick. The owners were unconcerned, telling us that decomposition was bound to be complete sooner or later and the smell would be gone.
And they were right. It took a full year, but they were right.
After 2 years I was promoted to Afternoon Drive jock, the second highest profile slot after Morning Drive. Along with it came the one and only raise I ever got there - from 200 to 225 smackaroos a week. Woo Hoo! If I hadn't snowed some Sugar Mamma into letting me move in with her, I'd have been dumpster diving for both food and shelter.
Speaking of snow, the jocks were expected to run out in the winter and shovel the drive when longer songs were playing. For no pay.
An unusual requirement of my new position was that I had to train the night-time jock every day before I left....
"Dr. Johnny Fox" had been the Morning Drive host on our sister station, WNNJ-FM, for 12 years before I got there. But then, during the station's Christmas party one year, he got loaded and crashed his car on the drive home. He was in a coma for close to two years, and frankly it would have been better if he'd died. When he woke up, he had lost the ability to transfer short- into long-term memory. On top of that, he suffered significant amnesia. He had no vision in one eye, and a field of vision the size of a dime left in the other. His jaw had been shattered like a jigsaw, but was re-wired as best they could. Unfortunately, that ruined his ability to enunciate any word more complex than "uhhhh".
And he was the DJ who took over from me every night.
The two owners were paralyzed with fear that his family would sue over the alcohol they provided at that fateful party. So they made sure that, as soon as he was physically able, he had his old job back. That way the family couldn't say he'd lost his ability to make a living.
In actuality, that rotting squirrel was more able to host a radio show than Johnny was. I was paid to stay an hour or two every day just to show him how to cue up records, load commercials, turn the mic on, etc. Every day. And he still would get it all wrong after I left. I used to listen to his show on my drive home, and I'd hear him play the same song 10 or more times in a row. In the span it took him to say "Solid Gold 1360, WNNJ - I'm Dr. Jonny Fox with all your favorites!" he'd forgotten that the song loaded in the cd-player had just ended, and he'd punch "Play" all over again. Sometimes until his show was over. One song, over and over. Every now and then you hear the same thing with commercials. He'd play the first one, then hit the button for the second, then go back to the first, then the second...until sign off, hours later. All spots, all the time.
What's sad was, I worked with him for two hours a night, 6 days a week for 5 years. Two weeks after he quit I called his house to see how he was doing and he didn't remember me.
Kinda like my parents after I moved out.
God, I have so many more stories about that station, and others. Giving away Hormel Spam refrigerator magnets as the Big Prize one summer. Having a contest to see if anyone could tell me my own name, and the name of my newsguy. (In a lesson in humility, nobody won). Using a surplus WWII board that had been improperly re-wired from stereo to mono, and would shock you every time you turned your mic on if you didn't ground yourself first.
Don't get me wrong - there were definite perks. A group of ladies who worked during the week and could only listen on Saturdays formed a fan club called the "Saturday Sluts". I used to get the best presents from those gals. And every August I would have to do my broadcasts from a remote trailer on the grounds of the Sussex County Farm and Horse Show ("Still one of the top 10 attractions in the US to visit by bus!" according to the US Bus Association. Seriously). I was supposed to give regular updates to the jock back in the studio. But after hours of "The kohlrabi exhibit gets underway at noon, and the Rotary Club will conduct a singing of their anthem at 5." you start to go crazy. So I would make up events:
"Attention fair goers! The Dog Milking competition is at 2, sharp. Free samples will be given immediately afterwards, so line up now. Also, the heiffer slated for Cow Chip Bingo has taken ill. Anyone who wishes to take her place please report to the Metamucil tent. We'd be very grateful..." And so on. This would not only go out over the air, but on the speakers system around the fair itself. No one ever said a word.
And yeah, it was a nice ego-stroke being able to say "I host a radio show!" while standing in line waiting to be issued my monthly food stamps. But overall, it was a lot more hell than heaven.
So why did I stick with it?
I didn't want to disappoint the Saturday Sluts. They were such nice girls.
Speaking of radio, I've been on-air all day today, and my shift is rapidly drawing to a close. I wrote this a few words at a time, between mic breaks, and on re-reading it I see it sucks pretty bad. Oh well, they can't all be gems. If I have time tomorrow I'll bang out a funny story.
Famous First Drafts (Pt.1)
"He grasps the crag with crooked hands
Close to the sun in far off lands
Ring'd by the azure world he stands.
The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls
He watches from the mountain walls
And like a thunderbolt, he farts."
(Alfred, Lord Tennyson)