It’s 5:22 on Monday evening. Did you see the video that’s trending all around the internet where the crocodile ensnares the trunk of a baby elephant? Then the bigger elephants stomp around on or near the crocodile until he lets go? You can’t make this s--- up.
That’s the saying we use around the radio station. Whenever something weird happens – and it happens a lot because it’s radio – the echo is: “You can’t make this s--- up.”
Today on the show I struggled to find rhythm at first. Part of it is that Monday morning shows take a while to get going anyways, especially after a holiday. People are dragging. They don’t want to wake up and go to work. They’re tired. They may even be hung over. You can feel their angst.
This morning is notable in that last night Alexis and I had a little argument. It doesn’t really matter what it was about (I’ve forgotten anyways), and it wasn’t even that big of a tiff. It was more that we were both tired as hell from a long weekend and then got snippy with each other before bed, and then didn’t sleep well.
That sounds like way too much information for a blog this beautiful afternoon. And it is a beautiful afternoon. Sunny, not too humid or windy. It got up to about 70 degrees. I shopped at Van Til’s grocery store in Hessville at noontime to get Alexis and I some (makeup) dinner. The carry-out guy Don exclaimed as we came out of the sliding glass doors into the parking: “Oh my gosh, is it gorgeous out.” And it is.
The reason I bring this up is that as a morning host, no matter what day it is, how crappy the weather is or how horrible the news out of North Korea is – or if you had a tiff with your wife or if you have the sniffles or bad gas or didn’t sleep – it really doesn’t matter once you turn on the microphone. That’s the deal you sign up for. The moment you start bringing your own personal problems to the airwaves, you’re toast.
I learned a similar lesson with trading. If you come to the pits unbalanced in some way, the markets will find your weakness. You could be exhausted from staying up all night with a sick kid. Maybe one of your parents recently died. Or yout girlfriend broke up with you. Or you lost a bunch of money on an outside business deal. Or one of your kidsgot smoking weed.
Whatever the weakness, the market will find it… unless you learn how to man up and separate your personal life from your trading life. And that takes a while to figure out how to do..
There were plenty of times early on in my trading life that I would bring the problems of my marriage or the pressures of a burgeoning family to the pits. And I would pay for that. As a matter of fact, in one of the two times that I lost all of my money, part of the process was that I had too much crap going on in my life outside of the pits. I was distracted and, to some extent, weak. The markets found that out and next thing you know I was digging ditches for lawn sprinklers.
Does any of this matter to the three or four of you?
I have no idea. I told you before, though, that I want to present My Radio Life as authentically as I can. That way a dozen years from now when readers 4, 5 and 6 come along, they can have an idea of what radio once was like – an authentic rendition of the ups and downs and all arounds of loving the process of making sound over the air.
Anyways, the little tiff we had last night was certainly minor. You don’t have the intensity to your disagreements as you get older that you did when you were a young couple. I remember a few times getting out of the Nissan Sentra at 5:30 in the morning at the East Chicago train station in the middle of winter. Alexis had to drive me there, with the baby in the carseat, since we only had once car. There would be ice on the windows and a wicked wind blowing the little two-door all around on Cline Avenue, and we’d both notice at the same time that there was barely any gas in the car.
“Gosh darn it, JED, can’t you do the man’s job and keep gas in the car? My dad always did.”
And then I’d bring up something Alexis was doing that I didn’t like, and next thing you know I’d be getting out of the car all pissed. And she’d be driving away all pissed. And little Jeanie would still be wailing in the carseat because that’s what cholic babies do.
As a newer trader, I would bring that frustration to the pits. And I’d lose money. Maybe even a lot of money. The markets will find your weakness.
The same goes for your radio audience. I was really tired this morning. Alexis and I and daughter Jackie had a really nice (late) Easter dinner at Tavern on Rush last night, then we dropped her off at DePaul. But there was a ton of traffic coming out of the city on the Dan Ryan. You get the picture, the three or four of you. You’re tired, you’re pissed at traffic, and next thing you know it’s past ten and you’re bitching at each other as you walk in the door.
But you can’t be a pissy little bitch on the radio the next morning at 5:30. You have to be the same guy you were yesterday and the day before that. You can’t act your way through the show either, if that makes any sense. You have to make it so that the “you” that you bring to the show really is you. You have to be authentic, however painful that may be.
I did that this morning. After wiping the sleep from my eyes, I started talking and by 7:15 Billy Baker and I had some decent banter going back and forth and several callers. We talked about the situation in Griffith where, it turns out, a high school basketball player was alleged to have hit a woman over the head with a baseball bat, yet he was allowed to play the entire season with charges hanging.
There’s good points on either side of the argument about whether it was right for him to be allowed to play all season. We found those sides. We wound up doing decent radio. And then I went shopping for some chicken and salad, which we’re about to eat right now. Alexis walked in from work and laid next to me on the bed. We hugged in our clothes, made fun of our days and laughed a couple times. Next thing you know we’ll be walking around Wicker Park saying “hi” to people who listen to the show. All is good. Monday mornings after holidays can really test your mettle.