Working it for so long
the old cowboy takes
his hat off his head
and wipes his brow.
Wrinkles thoughts and
The cross is there. We
need not heed.
The daffodils are wet.
Standing on the side of
the road, waiting for
A coach, a horse a sign,
a wind., A man is alone
with his soul.
Wrinkles thoughts and
tumbleweed. A heart
without a core.
A shack among the
poppy seeds. An ache
he can’t ignore.
He once loved a woman.
She lost herself to drink.
He came home early.
She no longer wore pink.
In the arms of another man,
naked and perverse.
He set the man down in
a hurry. They took him
in a hearse.
There’s plenty of plains
if you want to get lost.
Cactus on the other side.
It’s wide, it’s open, it’s
sad as hell. The ballad
of Henry McBride.
Every once in a while
you’ll hear a shot.
Don’t know where it came
from, don’t know what it
But if you get quiet enough
and think it through, it’s
in a fit
He’s looking for rabbit
or squirrel or beaver. A man
needs to eat. A man needs to
spit. He could roam all night
and sleep all day, but he could
never leave her.
I just finished my final research project for Consumer Behavior 424 at Purdue Northwest. It’s a summer May-mester. They squeeze 16 weeks of material into six. It almost broke me.
It’s Thursday morning at 1:56am. I didn’t do the morning show so I could write this paper. It took me the better part of four days. My life, of course, doesn’t stop so that I can do this. I played in the Purdue Northwest outing on Monday. Yesterday, I kicked it around Lost Marsh Golf Course as part of the Lakeshore Chamber outing.
Don’t get me wrong. I love to play golf and be sunburned. But I have had enough of this life of local radio for this moment. I feel this deep craving for solitude. The closest thing I can get to it these days is to be awake in the middle of the night with no one home. The wife’s at a judge’s convention. Maybe I’ll just watch a movie and stay up all night until I gotta do the show.
There is plenty to talk about on the show.. We did – the three or four of you and me and the other three or four who listen to the show but don’t read this blog – we did have a pretty good radio show on Tuesday. That was in the midst of this Mexican border thing in which agents were separating children from their moms and taking them to kennel-like facilities in the desert. It was barbaric. A few hours ago, president Donald Trump signed an executive order to reunite moms and their kids. I don’t know how we get to this point.
Are there warning signs of something? Maybe. My best guess is this hatred and lying that dominates all that we do these days will pass. It really will. It’s not a political statement. All sides accept the lies and manufacture their own. The best I can do is to fire up the transmitter every morning and either make people laugh or give them a reason to cry. Somewhere in there I take a deep breath and give all that I can to further some sort of purpose I am unable to describe.
After researching the crap out of TD Ameritrade’s new TV network and writing a paper on it, I don’t have much left for you.
I don’t have much left, my darling.
I’m feeling kind of beat.
So if you can rub my back and wash my clothes,
and make me something to eat
I’d be much obliged, forever thankful.
Peaceful, happy, fat and tranquil.
The other option isn’t as good. I’ll take a shower
and cook my food.
You can rest and do your Scrabble. And when
I come to bed, I’ll sulk and brood
My hair won’t disentangle.
If I were to try to tell you all of the stuff that I have done for the past week or so, you’d get exhausted just reading it, the three or four of you. I am thankful beyond words for the life of radio that the good Lord has given me. But sometimes it’s a bit much.
I know that I have brought this feeling of being burnt out on myself. I enrolled in MBA school. I’m 56. I won’t graduate for another year and a half. It’s a ludicrous proposition. But I can’t shake it. There’s a whisper following me around. It’s telling me to take another course in business and then another and then another.
The last one, this Consumer Behavior, applies directly to my business. I’m in the midst of this marketing renaissance. Christina, Darya and Mark meet with me every day. We have put together a contract, a pricing sheet, a Power Point presentation and more. We’re working now on a tri-fold brochure. We have a message, and it is this.
That’s our message. We have been working our assess off at the chalkboard trying to figure out exactly what we’re doing and how we’re going to present it. I’m pretty much playing this one close to the chest. I don’t mind telling the three or four of you what’s going on because you know how to keep your mouth shut. Besides, that’s the agreement. I live my life of radio and tell you about it. It’s not only for the three or four of you but for broadcasting students in 50 years at a small liberal arts college on the East Coast. We are making history, the five of us. Something is dying and something will be risen again.
And what it is is the spirit of WJOB. It will not die. It went into bankruptcy for a while. And I screwed it up enough a couple of times that it should have died. (Remember all women’s radio. And then music radio. And sports only radio?) I have tried my darnedest to be a poor enough manager that the spirit of WJOB should have died.
It just won’t die, this thing
I can’t conceal. It feeds my
soul, gives me a reason,
provides me my next meal.
So it’s 2:15 in the morning now. I played in this outing and then studied for a good seven hours. That means that I have outing sweat and study sweat all over my body. If Alexis weren’t in Indianapolis, then I would have had to shower. Since she’s not here, I’ll just say it to myself.
“Take a shower. You stink.”
There’s something very Western about sitting in your own stink…. Riding a horse across the plains, not changing your clothes for weeks, bathing in streams, wiping your ass with leaves. It all adds up to that sweet sour smell like the locker room at St. Jude’s in South Holland. Wooden benches and metal lockers and years of stinky Chuckie T’s piled high. It’s a smell you can’t get out of your head and wish you could smell again.
So there’s really three things that I’m getting ready to roll out. Since it’s just us four or five in the middle of the night, I’ll tell you.
And I am the only one using it. Here’s how it works. You open the app on your phone. You record something for up to 22 seconds. You can play it back to yourself. If it meets your approval, you click send. A couple seconds later you can swipe to the right and see it at the top of the list of all of the HeyJED messages.
For now, it’s only my HeyJEDs. Three or four times a day, I open the app, say some stupid stuff, and then hit send to myself. You can check these works of art out yourself, if you like. Go to the Apple app store or to Google Play and download the app. You’ll see my works of art there. Listen to them.
I’m not sure what to say sometimes to the app that is me. The first time around – six months ago – every time I listened to one of my HeyJEDs, I turned up my nose.
“I don’t know what that’s supposed to be, but it sucks whatever it is.”
That was my own evaluation of my own HeyJEDs. Now, after doing it before and doing a bunch now, I feel like I’m getting the hang of it. And that’s how most of our innovation projects go anyways. I do it first and then I hand it off to someone else to keep it going. I wonder who it will be with the HeyJED app.
It won’t be Shamari Walker. He’s the guy who helps me with this deep technical stuff like build an app and set up the software to run a 24-hour TV station. He’s my secret weapon, ace in the hole.
But he’s still in high school. Stuff like finals and coding club and chess tournaments and leadership retreats get in the way of changing the world. In a few days, Shamari is going to Stanford University for three weeks as part of a technical getaway for kids who stay up all night on their computers. I’m guessing that someone at Stanford will recognize what Shamari has to offer and steal him away.
But for now, he’s mine. And finally the two of us scrapped together enough mistakes to make this app that I’m starting to really like. Something’s there with the app. I don’t know where it’s headed but I get the feeling that it’s headed somewhere.
That should do it for now. The three marketeers and I and Debbie Wargo have our first real sales presentation tomorrow of the new promotional material. I’ll probably shower by then. Good night.
The key is to wake up and just start writing. It’s 2;20 in the middle of the night and I can’t sleep. This is not an anomaly. This is something that happens a lot. The only good that comes out of it is that sometimes I just open the laptop and start writing.
There are only so many days in a life.
There’s a wife and there’s kids and
there’s a roundabout by the cemetery.
In between, you wear a red hat in
the wintertime and ride your bike
when it gets warm.
It’s 1:18am on a Friday. Predictably, I woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep. Part of the distraction right now is the rhythmic sound of the Borman Expressway, 80-94.
I grew up a couple blocks from the Borman and I now live a couple blocks from it. In both cases, I’m the same distance from the constant rush of cars and trucks.