According the Johns Hopkins Corona Virus map, 88,554 Americans have now died from corona virus. Tomorrow morning, we open up for in-restaurant seating in Lake County. Jeff Bridges from Bridges Scoreboard Lounge in Griffith is schedule for the morning show. So is Rodney Langel of Langel’s Pizza in Highland. There’s an election for Congress in a little over two weeks. It’s surreal. There can be no campaign rallies, meet and greets, shaking hands at the train station. I can’t even hold a debate.
It’s a weird time. And it continues. One of the weirdest parts of it, for me, is going to the studios in the huge Purdue building – and no one’s there. All day, all night – I’m the only one who enters. We have these massive robotic studios with cameras from all angles and lights and microphones and switchers and computers.
And it’s just me.
The big debate right now is whether we should even try to open up America in the midst of a pandemic. The economy is decimated. Tens of thousands have died. More file for unemployment every day. More die every day. Three times a week I argue with the Cow Guy for the better part of the afternoon. He says the response to corona virus is a hoax and that Governor Holcomb has wussed out.
“We should have never shut down the economy,” he says. I say that we have done the best we can and it’s time to work on putting things back together. We’re not that far apart. We both want what’s best for America. I don’t understand all of the anger in America, though. I really don’t.
I do understand what my job is.
- Stay on the air
- Put out info about the upcoming election.
For you broadcasting students 50 years from now – we have had the same Congressman here for 36 years. His name is Pete Visclosky. He got elected for the first time around when I worked at WJOB just out of Berkeley.
Visclosky has said that he’s had enough. There’s 20 people on the primary ballot to take his place. It’s a free for all… but the free for all, like so many other things these days, is surreal. You can barely tell there’s a huge primary coming up. Everything is online from basements and front yards. In a way it’s a joke. In a way it’s all too real.
… I did get to see my dad over the weekend. Alexis and I went for a bike ride on Friday evening, one of the few sunsets when it wasn’t raining. That’s another thing. Here we are gutting out corona virus and all it does is rain. And it’s cold. Right now, outside my bedroom window, you can hear water rushing toward the downspout. You just want sunshine, clear skies. You just want to shake your dad’s hand.
It was good to see him. He’s gotten smaller, hairier and older since I last saw him. He’s 80. You’re not supposed to go around old people. You never know if you’re carrying corona and doctors and scientists tell you repeatedly on television that you should just stay away from your parents if they’re old. My dad and wife Kalli are old. We haven’t seen them in weeks.
Alexis and I parked our bikes in the driveway. The garage door was open and one of the vehicles was gone. I called my dad.
“Hallo,” he answered. It was like hearing a familiar, warm tone in the middle of a lightning storm. “Jimmy?”
“Yeah, dad. Jimmy. Where are you and why is your garage door open?”
Turns out my dad went shopping and left the garage door open. As he pulled up, you could see a ton of groceries in the back of the van.
“Dad, you know you can get that delivered, right? And why is your garage door open?"
“Oh well,” he said as he walked down the driveway. It was good to see him. He has grown a full beard. He was, as always, wearing a Purdue sweatshirt.
Ten feet from Alexis and me, my dad stopped. He stood on the concrete and waved.
“You know, dad, this might be the first time since I was 12 that we didn’t shake hands,” I said.
“Feels kind of weird, don’t it?”
The three of us talked for a while. And then Alexis and I rode off. “You know, I never realized it, but your dad’s a hugger. That might be the first time that he didn’t come over and hug me.”
So that’s my story. It’s not an unusual story. As the three or four of you re-enter the world, you run into people you haven’t seen in a while. You want to shake hands, you want to hug, kiss even. But there will be none of that. The best you can do is a wave across the driveway.
.... By they way, you can always check out my poems here.