It’s 8:44am on Memorial Day. Thanks to all who gave all.
It’s sunny out finally. That can seep into your soul if you let it.
Sunshine can seep into your soul,
if you let it.
If you don’t want it there,
that’s your problem.
But every day, somewhere
on this planet
there is sunshine.
At any time of any day,
there is sunshine...
Remember sunshine when you’re
driving down the Boulevard
and your mortgage payment
is late and you got a cold
and a nagging
relationship problem and,
of course, it’s raining.
Life sucks and then you die,
at least in theory.
Since it is Memorial Day, I don’t have much of a Radio Life to tell you about. I did get up at five and drive down to the radio station just to walk through the studios and act like I’m in charge. But then I realized that it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be, to be in charg. So I shuffled a couple of papers and went to Ultra.
I haven’t been to Ultra on the Boulevard in Highland for 20-some years. As a matter of fact, I may not have been there since I got married. That’s 26 years ago. We had my bachelor party at Wicker Park across the street. It was a golfing bachelor party. A bunch of guys golfed and then drank and then went home. It’s not that I don’t mind women with almost nothing on dancing around me in a provocative way. It’s just that I prefer to do it in other cities.
So there was no bachelor party like you might think, at least not from a guy with an admitted debauchery tendency. It was just the right thing to do, to golf, with a bunch of guys that I know and my brothers and my dad and uncles and cousins and you get the hillbilly picture. It was a day not entirely unlike today. Sunny and warm and not a lot of wind. We ran out of hamburgers, so I drove over to Ultra and waited in line a long time to pay and said I’d never come back.
And I didn’t. Until today. And man have I been missing something. When I went to Ultra on my bachelor party 26 years ago, it was a huge warehouse that had a slight musty smell. You had to bag your own groceries and fend for yourself.
The Ultra I went into this morning was like a huge event. Massive piles of sweet corn and tomatoes, melons and lettuce. There was music playing – Van Morrison – and it’s well lit. I talked to the woman in the bakery –
“You don’t have any gluten-free bread, do you?”
The woman looked at me like I really shouldn’t be a guy asking for gluten-free products. After all, I have a goat tee and a fairly rugged and unpolished aura. It’s usually the guys who look a lot cleaner who eat gluten free.
“We have some in the freezer right over there, by the cupcakes.”
Now I don’t know why this happens, but they always put the gluten-free stuff next to the cupcakes. It’s a huge tease.
“Here’s your gluten-free bread that tastes like a cross between shoe leather and sawdust, and here’s the cupcakes you can’t eat that taste like heaven.”
I haven’t been doing this gluten-free stuff for that long, a couple months maybe. But for the three or four of you who read this directionless blog, you may know that I’ve had an upset stomach for a couple of decades now.
It comes and goes, the nasty stomach does – perhaps in proportion to the amount of stress in my life – but the one constant is recurring pain. I’ve been to a number of doctors, had a bunch of tubes stuck down my throat and up other orifices. And I’ve never really been able to get a definitive definition of the pain that is my stomach.
And then one day, my daughter was in town from New York and she suggested that I go gluten-free.
“Some people’s stomachs don’t digest gluten very well. Maybe you’re one of them.”
Maybe I am. I’m also the guy now who has to ask at the sandwich counter – “you don’t happen to have gluten-free bread, do you?”
I never wanted to be that guy. Really, for my entire life, which is getting longer by the Thousand Words, I have basically eaten as you might picture a heathen eating, with one exception – I really don’t eat meat. That’s a holdover from living in the “cooperative” at Berkeley. You gotta take something with you back to the Midwest. I took with me the no meat approach.
The point of the story is that I haven’t been to Ultra since the day of my bachelor party. It’s changed. A ton. That’s the point of my directionless story.
This could be a Memorial Day in which I do a little more of My Radio Life. I could go down to the station and actually do some live radio, or I could sift through old audio files and find some really cool ones from ten years ago and play them. Or I could hook up the turntable and play albums.
But then again, with radio, like everything else, you gotta get away from it for awhile. And that’s what I’m gonna do today. Billy Buzzkill Baker and I are gonna play golf . He texted me last night and asked – for the umpteenth time – if I wanted to play some golf. I almost always refuse because I have enough Polish and Dutch immigrant in me to feel guilty about taking time away from radio to lollygag around a golf course. But I can also work up some guilt about not spending time with a good friend who keeps asking me to play. So in the war of competing guilts, it’ll be golf. We’re playing a place called “Ravisloe.” I looked up the reviews online. Donald Ross, a famous golf architect, designed it in 1901.
And 1901 is older than WJOB. All radio is good, just some is better than others. Radio is life. Life imitates radio. Sometimes you just gotta get away from radio and play a course called “Ravisloe.” Ravio. Radio. Radiosloe. Slow radio. Radio.