It’s 9:12am on the Friday after Thanksgiving. I don’t do the morning radio show on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
Today, it was Kat Marlowe and Rick Kubic doing the show. I got up to go work out at 6am and drove around for a while listening to them. The workout place was closed. Doesn’t open until 8am. Ric and Kat talked about holding a towel between your buttcheeks after a shower and re-gifting things with price tags on the bottom from stores that closed a long time ago.
Instead of just driving around as the sun came up, I came back home and made some chile quiles. This is when you crack two eggs on the skillet, throw in some cracked tortilla chips, mix in some salsa, and throw it all on a plate with some Mexican rice. I used to eat like a half Polish, half German Dutch guy. Now I eat like a Mexican.
I wake up to think about radio. I really do. When I say to the three or four of you that I live a life of local radio, I really do live a life of local radio. Even when I’m not there, I pretty much think about it all of the time. I’m okay with this. But truth be told I’d like to move the ball forward a bit in terms of radio. I don’t know exactly what this means, but I’m guessing that at some point I’ll figure it out.
Even the shitty poems that I write often somehow mention radio. Here’s one that I wrote the other day after I did the radio show.
what is going on
on the radio
in the White House
around the world.
Listen to me,
feel the hate.
Click the net,
feel the hate.
Visit the bar,
feel the hate.
There must be a
reason for the
I don’t know
what it is.
Maybe it just
has to rain to
clean the sidewalk,
grow the grass,
feed the trees.
Then the sun
can come out again.
It really is dangerous out there. I can feel it on the air and I can feel it on the television news with all of the random mass shootings and killings. There’s hate. In 50 years when some broadcasting students at a small liberal arts college on the East coast read my blog for historical purposes, they will have to understand the amount of hate that is around the world. I was cleaning up yesterday for Thanksgiving and I ran across a recent Time magazine.
The Politics of Hate.
That’s what the headline reads on the front cover. I haven’t read the article yet. I plan on doing it tomorrow on the drive to a Grateful Dead concert. It’s kind of far away. There might some details in the article on hate in America, and those might be useful to fill in some holes in my knowledge about hate. But to understand the essence of hate in America, I don’t have to read the article at all. The hate is all around me. And the three or four of you also.
So let’s look at this. I did the Tuesday morning radio show and I don’t have to be back on the air until Monday morning. I have tried several times to design some marketing stuff and to record a couple of promos and do some of the regular radio stuff that you do if you live a life of local radio…
But I don’t have it in me. In a way, other than writing to the three or four of you – and driving around listening to Ric and Kat – I want to distance for a couple of days from radio. I want to, but I can’t. It is in me, radio is. The workout place was closed and Alexis might go shopping, so I’ll wind up down at the station in a couple of hours doing what I do, which is radio.
Radio is good and pure and beautiful. I really do believe this romanticized notion of of our second oldest form of electronic communication, right behind the telephone. What will happen to radio by the time the students at the small liberal arts college in the East come across my blog, the three or four of you and I have no idea. What we do now right now is that there is radio and there is hate.
And there are poems. I have a little trouble showing you the next poem in that it puts us together in a phone booth… but isn’t that the point? If we’re going to enter into this social contract in which I tell you about My Radio Life and you read it, then I pretty much have to go deep. Once in a while, the communication has to be a little bit uncomfortable. So here goes.
Without the will to change,
you’re left with last year’s
chicken soup simmering on
When you wake up in the morning
with your socks on, then it’s
probably time to find a new
Speak up, junior, or forever hold
Clean the kitchen, ma, we’re
having guests over.
Turkey and mashed potatoes
don’t have magic without gravy.
Every few Thanksgivings, my mom
is missed. And it’s been almost
Maybe that’s why I get sad on
cranberry eve. I love canned
cranberries. I know that if you
view yourself as an educated professional
you’re not supposed to like
something so low-brow.
But screw that. My mom’s been
dead for nearly 30 years. She
served canned cranberries. If
it was good enough then, it’s good
enough now. I just wish I could
shake these shakes. I don’t know
where they came from.
There are challenges. Money,
career, kids moving on. But there
is absolutely no reason to feel as
if a big truck ran over my heart and
there’s owls hanging from my eyelids.
I have been walking around for two days
trying to figure out who spit in my
energy cocktail. Here it is – I miss
my mom. That’s really sad. I’m
55 years old. It’s the eve of
Thanksgiving. Grandkids my mom never
met will populate our kitchen, but
mom won’t be here. Every few years
I feel it. Today is that day.
What would it have been like had she
We would be having Thanksgiving at
her house tomorrow.
On the way home from work a couple
times a week, I would have stopped at
and ate something in the kitchen.
My mom would have stood arms crossed
asking questions. I would
have surreptiously read the sports section.
“More Diet Coke, please.”
Everyone would have been happy.
Instead, I’m laying here in bed on the
eve of 25 people coming over, and I’m
sad. I couldn’t figure out why until
just now. I thought it was because
once again we’re entering the holidays
with radio money and not trading money.
But that’s only a smidgeon of the
sadness. It is real grief. Decades later
it surfaces and I want to lay in bed
and not do anything.
I did that for a while today and
it didn’t feel good at all.
What feels good is my fingers
flying over the keyboard. They’re
pounding out words that may not
mean much to you, but they
provide an escape hatch for me. I
can swim again.
As a matter of fact, I just woke from a
dream about getting caught
in the engine room
of an American destroyer
in the Pacific Ocean
during World War II.
A Japanese sub hit us with a torpedo and
the engine room filled with seawater. The
rest of the sailors, as is protocol, shut the
hatch so we couldn’t get out. It’s supposed
to keep the water from flooding the
rest of the ship, but instead it woke me
up, sweating, breathing heavily. I miss
my mom and there’s no way out of the
engine room. We’re all gonna drown
My mom grew up poor and with a mom
who wasn’t around much. She told me
that at the age of 10 she basically
became a mom. She and her twin sister,
who didn’t much relish the job, were in
charge of Charlie, Dennis and Danny.
They were my heroes, by the way,
my mom’s little brothers. When other
10-year-old girls went out to play, my
mom scrubbed the kitchen floor and
made dinner, not in that order, I imagine.
At some point, my mom’s dad picked up
siphylus from screwing some slut in the
neighborhood, and he went slowly
crazy. That’s the family secret that
nobody talks about. His mom, who lived
across the street, took him back home
and made him live in the shed in the
backyard. She chained him there.
It just so happens that the shed was
directly across the street from the window
into my mom’s bedroom. Once in a while
my grandfather with siphylus would
break free from the chains to
roam the neighborhood.
Before he could be corralled, he would
come to my mom’s window.
One time when my mom brushing her hair,
my siphylus-filled grandpa came to the
window and stared at her.
“He knew who I was.” That’s the phrase of
“He knew who I was.”
Now I’m not so sure that old gramps knew who
my mom was. He could have. Maybe there were
some connections in his brain that had not yet
been radicalized and he could recognize
his oldest daughter. Maybe.
Or it could be that he was like a bird
flying over power lines who keeps
getting attracted to the next shiny object.
That would be the more likely explanation.
The sadness to bring out of this situation of
the little girl brushing her hair is
the deep hope in her heart. She
wanted badly for her dad to remember
her. My mom went to the grave hoping,
yearning for a dad’s recognition. It’s a
sadness I can’t escape on Thanksgiving eve.
It reaches across generations and here
I am stuck with
How’s that for a real downer? Just understand that when I go into poetry mode that you can’t read too much truth into it. I mean, it’s not like it is at this moment when I’m having a one-way conversation with the three or four of you. I might stretch things a little bit during this segment, but for the most part there’s a semblance to reality to what I’m saying. Please don’t do that with my poems. I don’t know where the come from, what they mean or if they’re any good. I just know that they creep up on me and if I don’t bang them out, then I won’t be regular the next morning. On the toilet, that is.
I do want to say something about the little social contract that we spoke about earlier. I write to you and you read what I have to say about My Radio Life. Often, when I run into one of the three or four of you, you stop me and say, “Hey JED, I’m one of the three or four.” This happened to me at El Taco Real on Wednesday. A woman stopped me and said as such, and then walked away. Thanks for existing.
That oughta do it for this morning. I feel like every other radio guy in America – I should be doing something for the radio station right now. I checked the HeyJED app. It was a perfect shutout yesterday. Nobody sent in any messages. It’s slow going, and of course I’m starting to doubt myself. I’m wondering if I just spent six months and a bunch of money developing an app that nobody will use. Perhaps. But I still hold out that there’s a way for all of us to send messages to the world through radio. It can happen. Let’s just hope they’re not all hate messages. I don’t mind some hate messages because we paint the world as it is, not as we wish it were. Still, once in a while I’d like to hear someone marvel at a sunrise or tell me how cool it was see her daughter’s first steps. That’s what we’re looking for. The moments that define us. And hate does not define us.