Magazines in with the onions,
a cat fell asleep on the windowsill.
For heaven’s sake, don’t store the
Cheez Whiz in the refrigerator.
It’ll be fine on its own in a
cabinet with the green beans.
There must be order. There must
be radio. There must be a sense of
wrong and right.
The happy women talk smoothly
in the midst of sliced kiwi and
barbecued shrimp. Without a slight
ginger smell, you’d think you were
at a downtown Chicago restaurant
paying a bunch of money.
Ginger ruins it. Pepsi ruins it. A
wrinkled suitjacket will leave you
wondering if the guy inside is all that
you thought he was. Dry clean
your suit, mutherf---er.
Shake hands firmly. Whisper to
yourself about the blond in the
pantsuit. What is inside that silk
blouse besides ti----s and
vulnerability? Make them strong,
make them firm, but don’t make
them tell you their fears. You’ll
be up all night listening.
There must be a path to follow here
somewhere. Road signs in the middle
of the forest don’t make sense, but
when you’re lost, you’re lost. GPS
just makes things worse. You’re
better off just staying home
and watching TV sometimes.
If you live long enough, you can
see your life repeat itself.
I have thoughts that I haven’t had
for decades. They keep popping up
like heat waves from when you were
in grade school. I wish there were more
than one life to live. I wish you could
eat chocolate all day long and not
gain weight or develop heart disease.
But what the hell, you’re gonna die
anyways so you might as well drink
as many craft beers as you can think of.
Life doesn’t have to make sense. I know that, and I’m guessing that the three or four of you share at least some version of this. Otherwise you wouldn’t waste your time reading my blog.
But I do thank you for doing so. It makes me smile inside my hairy back and underneath my little cheater glasses when one of you comes up to me and says, “Hey, I’m one of the three or four.” Thank you for being part of a group. I’ve never been very good at it.
If you think about it, when I go to all of these events around the Calumet Region, I go alone. I am usually not part of any group, at least officially. Let’s take last night.
I went to the Purdue Northwest Coaches caravan at the Buffalo Wild Wings in Hammond just off of 80-94. We (WJOB) were broadcasting the interviews with the coaches and some of the players live on AM and FM radio and also on Facebook Live. WJOB’s Sam Michel was the host. Ben Cowert and Jimmy Mullaney were the on-site producers. And Tony Panek was back in the studio producing from there.
I showed up and shook a bunch of hands and had half a beer with Brad Hemmingway and his son, Joe, and talked to a bunch of coaches and athletic director Rick Costello and Chancellor Tom Keon. When the show ended, I left.
I drove over to my nephew Al’s Babe Ruth Fall League game, where I had a conversation with longtime attorney Jim Harris. Nephew Al played shortstop and took a skipping line drive off of his forehead. I didn’t get to see him today, but I’m pretty sure he’s got a big black and blue mark above his eyebrows. As a matter of fact, another nephew, Sam Foreit, also got hit by a baseball. Sam got hit by a pitch in the back. He didn’t rub it as he ran to first base, but you could tell that he wanted to.
After that, I went to Tru BBQ where there was a retirement party for Dave Colson of the ATF. Dave started out as a Highland cop and then for the last 28 and a half years ran all or some of the field office in Chicago, I’m not sure which. Dave thanked me for coming, gentleman that he is. And then I talked with a few feds and some other law enforcement types, and then I left.
Purdue, Babe Ruth, ATF – what’s the common thread?. Here it is – I came and left alone. It’s not that Alexis and I are on the outs – she was working – it’s that as a radio guy, you roll alone. That’s just how it is. You rarely take official positions.
I’m an unofficial ambassador for anything Purdue Northwest related.
I’m good time Charley uncle.
And I’m radio guy who likes to laugh and talk with feds.
I’m not a fed. I’m not on the Purdue faculty or administration. And I’m not Al’s dad, which would mean I would have to worry about things like dinner and college.
I’m a free agent to come and go as I please, right?
Not exactly. My Radio Life is not my own right now. I pretty much have stuff to go to every night. I am not complaining about this. I will look back at this blog entry in five or ten years, if I’m still alive, and I will most likely long for the days when I was “in the game.” I did the “JED in the Region” morning show today, interviewing:
After the show, I went to work out and returned to the studio to do “JED in the Money” segments. That’s when I talk to entrepreneurs, managers, union workers, charities and so forth. I really like doing the “JED in the Money” segments. Every business has a story to tell. I interviewed:
I did get to come home for a 20-minute nap, which is key. I have always believed that a short nap, anything under an hour, resets your mind and body. And now we’ve got a Wall Street Journal article to prove it. It was in Tuesday’s edition, an article about the benefit of naps.
One of the sleep researchers explained it like this – Being awake is like gathering bricks in your backpack. The longer you’re awake, the more bricks you wind up with on your back and the heavier it is. If you take a nap, you empty the backpack.
I like that explanation about naps. I could never really put it into words why they have always been so important to me. This sleep researcher could.
Anyways, today, like yesterday and the day before that, I went places alone. And I don’t mean without Alexis, because even when she comes with me, we’re usually not part of the event that we’re attending. We just don’t join that much stuff.
There are couple exceptions. Tonight, I went to the NIPSCO Luminary Awards, where, it turns out, I have two involvements. I have been on the NIPSCO Citizens Advisory Panel for a long time, and most every year I go to the awards. It’s when the local power company – NIPSCO – gives away awards for service to the community. It’s a pretty big deal.
Before we get to the heart of the matter, I do have to make an apology. As I was pulling onto the NIPSCO grounds in Merrillville, I drove by a security person every 50 feet or so. They were everywhere, and they were all wearing brand new white Polos with “NIPSCO LUMINARIES” on their hearts. They’re nice shirts. I want one.
One of the security guys was waving at me, and I waved back and drove past him. He started running after me – “Hey, wait. Are you headed to the Luminaries?”
So stopped and rolled down my window. I had just driven 20 miles in 50 minutes through several slowdowns on the Borman Expressway. I wanted to get into the function, show my face, and go back home. My daughter Jackie was there waiting to get a late dinner.
“Are you going to the Luminaries?” the securing guy asked. He’s a retired cop. He has to be. He has that look.
“Yeah,” I said.
“Yeah?” He was one of those who didn’t take kindly to relaxed vernacular. He peered at me. I peered back.
“Have a nice day,” he said.
“Really,” I said back to him. “I’m just driving here minding my own business.” And I rolled my window up on him.
Now was I disrespectful to the retired cop in the “NIPSCO Luminaries” Polo? Probably. And I apologize for that, although I seriously doubt that he’s one of the three or four of you reading this.
So this is how much of a clown car my life is. I walked into the NIPSCO headquarters and started shaking hands and making small talk with people, when Ray Chambers of the Newton County Emergency Management team came up to me.
“Hey, we’re supposed to meet over by the stage in about five minutes,” Ray told me. He was wearing his dress uniform. He reminded me of one of those soldiers in England who guards the castle, except that Ray grew in Hammond. This precludes him or anyone else who claims that fine city as a hometown from doing anything “majestic.”
“We’re supposed to line up by the stage. When they announce the award, we’ll all go up there and take a picture.”
Now for the past seven or so years that I’ve been on the NIPSCO panel, I’ve never been part of an organization that received an award. Not even close. I haven’t even heard of most of the winners. One of the winners tonight – the Acres trust – buys open land to keep it that way. They do important work that I’ve never heard of.
“The NIISSA award. You’re part of NIISSA, and Dave Capp and Chief Scheckel want you on stage with me and everybody else.”
Well beat the Sam Hill out of me. I had no idea. I didn’t know that NIISSA was getting an award. I just happened to be there. I got my picture taken with a couple of feds and law enforcement types, and as soon as it was over, walked to my car. I felt guilty about something and I couldn’t at first figure out what it was.
It wasn’t that I really didn’t deserve to receive the award with such honorable people, including former US attorney Capp, whom I fully respect for his woodchopping skills. It wasn’t even that I felt guilty about leaving my grown daughter to go to yet another “function.”
Nope. As I walking out of the shiny NIPSCO headquarters into the blistering late September heat, I figured out what it was. I had to find that retired cop. He worked to protect us for all of those years. I could at least show him some decency and respect. Shame on me.