Monday night. 10:04pm
A real radio host would watch the news right now.
I take that back. Since it's 10pm, a real radio host would be asleep already. I just watched Bill Maher interview Arriana Huffington about her new book on how important sleep is. Arianna says you should get 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. Do the math. If I go to bed right now by 10:30, which is a long shot, and wake up at 4:11am, that'll be 5:41 of sleep. According to Arianna, that's not enough. According to Arianna, I'm sleep deprived.
She's probably right. If there's ever to be something that shakes me from my cozy perch atop the radio world of northwest Indiana, it'll be waking up early every freaking morning. I did it for 18 years at the Board of Trade. I did it for a few years before that as a construction laborer. And I do it now as a morning radio host. You tell yourself and everyone who will listen that you like waking up that early, that it's now part of your DNA.
Then on a couple weekend days in a row you sleep until 8am and you realize how fantastic that is. At some point I'm guessing that I'll wake up one day and ride my bike down to the station and go on the air:
"Hey you Region Rats, I ain't gonna work on Maggie's Farm no more."
That's what happened to Daryl. Do the three or four of you remember him? He worked at Inland Steel and then Arcelor Mittal for 37 years, and for the last four years or so of his employment he called me on the radio. It would be early, like 5:35am. And he'd be alert and funny and you know if you heard him that you liked when he called.
And for some reason at 5:30 in the morning I play Bob Dylan's "Maggie's Farm" a lot. It just pops up in the random rotation of bumpers. And sometimes, if I'm a little irritated about spending almost my entire adult life waking up before 5am, I pick Maggie's Farm out of the pile and play it on purpose.
I did it for a week straight one winter. I think it was like 2009 or 2010. The song must have a hypnotic effect, because at the end of the week of Maggie's Farm, Daryl called in.
"JED, I ain't workin' on Maggie's Farm no mo'."
"Really, I been listening to you play that song every day, and yesterday I just walked in to the boss's office and I told him I wasn't gonna do it no mo'. I ain't gonna work on Maggie's Farm no more."
And that was that. He never called again. I saw him once at a Merrillville High basketball game, and I asked him about that.
"I sleep in, JED. I sleep 'til like 10 or 11 o'clock every day. It's beautiful."
Daryl's not the only one. Do the three or four of you remember Joe from Highland? He, like Daryl, called in almost every day for years. And then one day he just stopped. I saw him at church in Highland one day -
"I just sleep in every day. I watch movies until one or two in the morning and then I sleep until noon. It's great."
Joe, like Daryl, worked in heavy industry somewhere. They both - the black guy from Gary and the white guy from Highland - woke up way before dawn and drove down Cline Avenue for more than half of a lifetime. And then one day they
1. didn't want to work on Maggie's Farm anymore and
2. didn't want to wake up hours before dawn.
I feel your pain, brother. I feel your pain.
.... Oh, by the way. It was 82 and sunny today, so I snuck out at Wicker Park and played nine holes of JEDgolf. I filmed it as always with a GoPro and laid some vinyl as a soundtrack. It's America, the Hearts album, side 2. The video is from today... me and my hairy white fish belly hanging out of my tee shirt. And the vinyl is from the summer of 2009, when my 14-year-old daughter played albums on WJOB during the midday. I miss those days. Like the three or four of you, I miss a lot of things.