The pen cap on the table at the end
of the seats at gate A9 has its
Maybe a woman pulled it from the pen
with her teeth and held it there as
she read her divorce papers.
We will never know if she signed
them. All we know is that
she left her pen cap.
Maybe a little kid pulled off the cap
with his grimy little fingers and
threw it carelessly in the air.
“I do not have a millimeter Peter,”
he said before scribbling on
his mom’s appointment
Maybe it was a flight attendant
waiting for a plane. Like the woman
getting divorced, she pulled the cap off
with her teeth and used the pen, not
to sign divorce papers, but to do a
New York Times crossword puzzle.
Maybe a comfort dog picked up the cap
from the floor, chewed on it a couple
times, realized that it wasn’t food,
and spit it out.
The cap flew gracefully from the
dog’s mouth to land firmly on the
Formica of the end-table.
There’s an infinite number of possibilities
for said pen cap. We can make them up
as the flight delay drags on.
The one thing we can be fairly certain of
is that I’m not gonna be there to watch
my four-year-old open up the Melissa
and Dog Personalized Fire Chief
Costume that I got her.
There seems to be some controversy
over whether she should wait until
I get there to open it up. Melissa and
her dog are there now. The new
husband could hand it to her –
“Here, Jillian. This is from your father.
He’s stuck in Tulsa.”
Come to think of it, it’s probably better
this way anyhows. I’ll just go into the
airport bar and get a drink. There won’t
be any dogs or grimy kids around.
Maybe I can meet a flight attendant there
who likes to do crossword puzzles, just got
divorced and misses her kids as much
as I do. You never know.
It’s 11:11 on Saturday morning. It’s zero degrees out and bright as hell. It’s hard to tell with the blinding sunlight if what we’re doing is genuine or not.
As discussed previously with the three or four of you, one of the things that ee try to do is be genuine. We look for hosts who are genuine, callers, sponsors even. We also look for guests who are genuine. Some are. Some aren’t.
But nothing could have prepared the three or four of you, me, and the seven or eight listeners for what walked into the studio on Wednesay morning.
It was, as it has been her for nearly a month, below zero. This kind of enveloping cold sets a tone for everything that you do. The extreme cold magnifies every aspect of your life. If your bedroom’s a mess, it looks in your mind as if it’s the biggest pigsty you’ve ever seen your life.
If you get into a minor tiff with your spouse, you lay down on your bed and cry silently inside your cheeks – I wonder if this is the beginning of the end. Are we getting divorced? Oh my god, I’m gonna be left alone.
And when you walk out into the cold, it slaps you on the face. You say to yourself – Oh my god, this is the coldest day in my life. I’m not gonna make it across the parking lot to my car.
A guy named Ed Fell told me last night at Porkchop Whiskey Bar in Glenwood, Illinois – I heard on the radio, not your station, that it’s the first time ever that the high temperature has been under 20 degrees for 12 days in a row.
Perhaps it’s the tendency to exaggerate during a cold snap that I must tell you – I believe that the most genuine one minute and 22 seconds of radio in the history of WJOB happened on Wednesday morning. Her name is Olivia Rose Longo.
Olivia is tiny, with beautiful sleek brown hair. She’s a 16-year-old junior at Lake Central High School. She was a little nervous to come on the air with me.
“Olivia, do you want to wear the headphones?” I asked her. “You don’t have to if you don’t want to.”
Her mom interjected – “Oh yeah, she wants the headphones. She wants the whole media experience.”
Olivia just smiled. I wondered how the interview was gonna go. Perhaps Olivia was too nervous to really say anything. She was there essentially to read a speech that she delivered to the Pirates charity organization a few weeks ago. That’s all I knew about Olivia.
“Here we go. 3-2-1,” I said and then I dove right into traffic. There was an accident, like always, on the Borman Expressway. Accidents during cold snaps require quick action by emergency personnel. Not only can people be bleeding to death inside the vehicles, they can be freezing to death also.
Olivia read her speech. It was enough to make your eyes water. “I am not a Downs Syndrome Girl. I am a girl with Downs Syndrome.” After the speech, Olivia and I talked about her affinity for Taylor Swift. Olivia credits Taylor’s songs for helping Olivia and her older sister form an especially close bond.
“My sister Emily Rose Longo and I would lay in bed talking late at night listening to Taylor’s songs. We would sing to them.”
We were, of course, broadcasting on AM and FM radio. We were also on Facebook in video. I had an idea, though, that didn’t make much sense at the time but turned out okay. I whipped out my cellphone and did another Facebook Live video. It’s one minute and 22 seconds long. You’ll have to watch it yourself to determine if it’s the most genuine one minutes and 22 seconds in the history of WJOB.