If you combine radio and gratitude, you get something like Raditude. I’m pretty sure that this word will never make it into general use, but if it does, it’ll mean something like this.
Without radio to ride my bike to,
I would be without a morning
purpose. And who wants that?
On the way to the next airwave,
I forgot my phone and had to
ride back home. There was a lion
in the way, and I had to outpedal
it. For some reason, at the last
minute, it got distracted by a
polar bear, so I was
In my house, there was a
16-piece symphony playing in
miniature on the kitchen
counter next to my checkbook.
There were playing a song
that sounded like a flat tire,
so I grabbed my phone and
got on my bike and pedaled
away as fast as I could.
Except that it wasn’t my bike at all,
at least not my present bike.
I think for some godforsaken
reason that it was my Apple Crate
from when I was like 12 years old.
That was a nice bike, a Schwinn and
all, but it really didn’t have any
place in my life on the way
to the next airwave.
In other words, I got lost on my
way to do radio. I lost my purpose,
my direction, my reason for talking.
For these and all my sins, Father,
I am heartily sorry. Without radio,
all of the sudden I’m in a confessional
once again trying to think of sins to
say that don’t involve stealing my
grandpa’s Playboys, or stealing
Money. That was a big no-no, stealing
Money. It still is.
The general idea is that if I didn’t have
radio to keep me sane, I’d think about
all sorts of weird shit. So thank you,
Father, for giving me radio. I have
much gratitude, Father. I have
I hope this at the very least explains what an Apple Crate is. It was the envy of the neighborhood to have a Schwinn Apple Crate… or was it “Apple Krate?” I think there was an Orange Krate, also, and a Lemon Peeler. The bikes weren’t that good. They rode hard. You had to pedal a bunch to go a little. But they had great names and good colors and for some reason when you’re 12 years old, that’s all that matters.
All that matters to me right now is that in five hours I wake up and do a radio show. I’m writing a ton of words for the three or four in that I sense that I may not blog all that much the next few days. My daughter Jeanie is coming in town from New York City. She’s 24 years old. She started talking on the radio when she was 14. For a while, I thought she might share with me this weird infatuation with the spoken word over Marconi marks floating in the breeze, but after a while radio wasn’t a big deal for her.
My other daughter, Jackie, is probably gonna come down from Chicago for a night, and there’s a distinct possibility that for one meal in 2017, all four of us are gonna sit down together. The message for the three or four of you to take away from this, radio or no radio, gratitude or no gratitude, is that one day you get to sit down to dinner with your wife and two daughters every night… and next thing you know it only happens a couple times a year.
Beats the hell out of me.
Anyways, I’ll probably take a couple of days off of doing the morning show this week and writing this blog to immerse myself in the memories and the present. Throw in my stepson stopping by on his way home from work and you could have a real family reunion of the five of us.
Of course, most of the time when all five of us sat down together to dinner when we were all living under the same roof, I was distracted. That’s because I was a trading addict. I always, for the better part of 18 years, had a trade on, and usually more than one. That way, when you have a trade on, you could call the trading desk a hundred times a night instead of being in the NOW with your family. These days, you can just check the markets on your phone. That makes it a lot easier. Back then, I had to call every few minutes.
So now that I think about it, there were a ton of meals in which I got up to either to accept a phone call from a trading desk or make a call to a trading desk. The girls might have been telling me a story about something that happened in kindergarten, but the whole time I would be wondering if the yield curve was getting stronger or weaker. My stepson might be asking me for a ride somewhere, and as I prepare my answer, I would be calculating how long that would keep me from being near a phone.
Like I said, once cellphones came along, it got a lot easier.
There was a point, however, at which I simply got up one day and quit the Board of Trade. Whizzo. Kapoots, Zing bang zoom. I walked down to the basement and sold my seats and went off and bought a couple of radio stations. It was a pretty dramatic shift, I get that. But in the end, I became quite focused at dinnertime. I learned how to listen to my daughters tell me funny little stories about a teacher at school. And I could engage my stepson in discussion about his college baseball team.
My awareness sharpened, if that makes any sense. Next thing you know, I was standing outside St. Thomas More waiting to give my kids a ride home.
It was quite the foreign experience. I’m pretty sure that for first half dozen years or so years of their St. Thom’s years, I was only there a few times to give them a ride home. Someone else did that. We hired people, or Alexis picked them up. Or my dad. But it wasn’t me.
A few days after I had sold my trading seat, I was standing outside waiting for Jackie. She walked up with a girl in her class - “Who’s that guy?” the girl asked.
This was an eye opener. She was Jackie’s best friend. There were a lot of eye openers. I vowed to get involved in my kids’ lives, to focus while we were at dinner, to go to their games, to help them with their homework.
It was cool at first. There was a lot of ice cream and trips and barbecueing in the backyard. But after a while, the girls turned into teenagers. They got tired of me being around, especially when they were trying to do something sneaky. I was around so much, I kept catching them doing little things they shouldn’t be.
“When are you gonna go back to the Board of Trade,” they both asked at one time or another. And my stepson asked it, too. Everyone got sick of me. Even Alexis asked it a few times.
But have no fear, the three or four of you, I didn’t go back to the Board of Trade. I was, am, a trading addict, and I knew it. I had to quit cold turkey, or I would be drawn back into not being present for dinner, physically or mentally. I was headed for some sort of downward spiral. I could feel it.
Instead, I found radio. I romanticize radio. The three or four of you know that. I write about it as if it’s a calling, a spiritual endeavor. Perhaps that takes it a bit too far for a couple of you. But too bad. For me, I am perfectly content to wake up at 4:22, which is in a little while, and ride my bike down to the radio station at the Purdue Commercialization and Manufacturing Center and start talking on AM, FM and Facebook Live. That’s what I do now, talk on the radio and write a blog about it… except for twice a year when I get to sit down to dinner with my wife and two daughters.