4:25am on Wednesday morning.
Radio rolls on. On Monday, longtime WJOB aficionado Will Glaros brought in to the studio Beth Roche, who told her story about being at the finish line to the Boston Marathon when the bomb went off. Bones stuck out of her leg, and she spent 47 days in a Boston hospital rehabbing. She kept her limb. She walked into the studio. That interview kind of crept up on me in that when she and Will sat down, I didn't know what they were gonna talk about. The three or four of you might think that I'd know enough to have some idea who was going to sit down next at the broadcast table. But you'd think that only if you never watched Mash.
Remember Mash? Alan Alda as a surgeon in war-torn Korea during the war. Meatball surgery. Bring 'em in, push 'em out. Next. That's all you have time for, stitch them up and get on to the next war injury. Most of the time there's more than you can handle and even when it's not like that you perform as if it is. If you watched the show long enough, you got the feeling that the only way the doctors, nurses, soldiers, generals could get through to the next day was to work at a frightening pace... then drink alcohol and pass out and go to bed.
That pretty much describes local radio...
That pretty much describes local radio. If you're going to do it right, then you can't spend too much time on one patient. You've just got to be an agile enough surgeon to cut off a leg in the first half hour, and then repair a heart valve the next. If you spend too much time preparing for a surgery, or too much time performing one, then others suffer. That's the way it is.
Also, Greg Easton came in to the studio on Monday. He's the principal of Morton High School in Hessville who used to be at Gavit for 27 years. Greg's school has to be one of the most diverse in America. You walk the halls off Grand Avenue and it's like being at a youth convention of the United Nations. That's part of the reason that Greg, a white guy, received the Freedom Award at the Martin Luther King celebration this year in Indianapolis. He got to spend time with Governor Pence, where they both marveled at the portrait above the fireplace of Indiana's first governor, Oliver P. Morton.
During the conversation, I looked up Oliver P. Morton in Google Images and noticed that like Greg and like me, he donned slightly shaggy facial hair.
"Look at his goat-tee. It looks like a beaver pelt." Greg Easton is the kind of guy you need teaching our kids. I get the feeling, however, that with all of the trash-talking about public school teachers these days, an educator of Easton's caliber probably wouldn't go in to teaching at all. He or she would be so turned off by the rhetoric that they'd go into business management instead.
.... Like always, it's a lotta family. My daughter turned 21 on Monday, but she had an organic chemistry test at DePaul so didn't do a thing. I talked to her last night.
"Dad, it was the worst 21st birthday ever. I spent it in the library."
That's one you never get back. Where were you on your 21st birthday? In the library? How sad is that.
I suppose that's one way of looking at it, but then again if my daughter's like me then she's not all that adept at big celebrations. I spent my 21st birthday in a rented room at a ramshackle hotel on University Avenue in Berkeley, California. Don't ask how I got there but when I went downstairs to buy a beer - legally - the prostitute who had been loudly shagging the Viet Nam vet next door came out of her room and asked if I'd like to go a round.
"I hear it's your birthday. Maybe we can work something out."
"I appreciate it. I really do. But I've got a lot of studying to do." I lied. I didn't really have that much studying to do. As a Sociology major, that was never really the case. Instead, I was just really curious about the depths of the loneliness that seemed to pop up when you spent your 21st birthday alone in your room staring at the blinking neon lights over University Ave and listening to the high-pitched gasps of the whore in the next room. There was something really "artistic" about it, and accepting sloppy seconds from peg-legged Frank would intrude on the beautiful melancholy.
My alarm went off ten minutes ago. That means it's time to brave the cold to do a radio show. I'm not riding my bike to work these days. It's just too difficult to cross 80-94 and US 41 to make it to Planet Fitness after the show. I almost got run over by a semi a couple of months ago, and who needs that kind of stress? Last night I went to sleep listening to a Jean Shepherd show from November 12th or so of 1963. Shep started the show doing what was supposed to be a Chinese accent. It sounded more Eastern European mixed in with a guy from the Region ordering a pound of ham at the Strack and Van Til's counter. At the end of the minute or so of this charade, Shep even poked fun at himself for a piss-poor rendition of an imitation. I like this guy. He seems real.
That was 53 years ago. I go to bed most nights listening to a guy who grew up a few blocks from WJOB doing radio on WOR in New York more than a half century ago. It was November 12, 1963. John F Kennedy had not been shot yet. No wonder the spring in Shepherd's voice yet.
... As far as more family, Jeanie and Jackie and Alexis posted stuff on Facebook about Jackie's birthday, and that was pretty much the extent of the celebration. A couple of the photos are above. Yesterday after the show, I went directly to Community Hospital to check on my niece, who had just had her tonsils out. Maddie let me take a picture of her in the recovery room. I told her I would just send it to Jean and Jack. I lied. There it is above for the three or four of you.
"I can breathe," she said in a Vicodone-induced reverie. "I can finally breathe."
Last night, I went to niece Megan's freshman basketball game at Griffith High school. The baseball coach there, Brian Jennings, gave nephew Al a Griffith baseball hat. Now it's a nice enough hat, and when we lived in Griffith I wore a ton of Griffith hats. But Al lives in Munster, which is an arch-rival, so it'll be a tough sell around the Mustang field-house. There's a picture of Al above, too. In-between quarters of the game, I chased him around to try to knock the hat off of his head. He's faster than I am now. So are the three or four of you probably also.
Can you tell that I'm stalling to get out of this warm bed? I was most likely snoring like Ralph Cramden again last night, because I woke up alone. At least it's warm. Really warm, which is the polar opposite of what it's gonna be driving down Indianapolis Boulevard in a few minutes. Go do radio.