hot summer day, you might wind up
reading the Wall Street Journal
in an armchair on Armistice Day.
Then came radio. On the way to
the forum, the internet came along.
All hell broke loose.
A black cat in the alley wears a
White stripe across his or her back.
Brown paws. Good thing, too,
because he just ran across my path.
Chalice on the nightstand,
Bible in the barracks.
Love the world as it is
and you’ll never go
It’s a Friday afternoon at the WJOB studios on the campus of Purdue Northwest. There’s a certain relaxed feeling that comes to radio stations on Friday afternoons. Few people stop by. Even fewer schedule taping sessions. The Purdue Commercialization Center gets kind of dead in general. All in all, it’s not a bad place to be on a Friday afternoon.
It’s not bad, this life of local radio. This morning, I did the radio show by myself for a couple of hours. It’s the one-year anniversary of the Robert Mueller investigation into possible collusion with the Russians in the 2016 election by Donald Trump. What played out on my airwaves is what plays out every day in America - supreme division.
Caller Mike – Why haven’t we investigated Democrats for doing the same thing? Especially Hillary? “Lock her up. Lock her up.”
Dan – It would be great if Mueller would come out and say there was no collusion. Until he does, we gotta keep on keepin’ on with the investigation. We gotta know.
Pete – So the Russians are just doing what all of the politicians do on WJOB: they’re just pushing their candidates.
Tom – How about the 30 million that foreigners paid to the NRA?
Dave – How about how Saudi Arabia gives millions to the International Chamber of Commerce? Couldn’t that be collusion?
It goes on. Somewhere in there I give my two cents, which is essentially that we can all listen to each other and on the other side synthesize some sort of way to go forward. It’s difficult these days. There’s a lot of hate out there and there’s not a lot of people doing the kind of radio that I do. I own my radio stations. I can pretty much do whatever I want on the air. I choose to host a show in the tradition of Larry Peterson, the great newsman who worked here for 37 years. He taught me in the mid 1980s. I am forever grateful.
What Larry did and what I do, though, is not in fashion. Part of it is that I just don’t have that strong of political convictions. Maybe it’s because I started out at 23 years old watching Larry. I learned early on to put my political leanings to the back of the theater. After a while, you forget that they’re there. You wind up being part of the IRDGAF party.
I Really Don’t Give a F---.
After a couple hours of this, Chuck Hughes came in the studio. He’s the executive director of the Gary Chamber of Commerce. That’s his job. Sports is his passion.
We talked about the 1955 Gary Roosevelt state runner-up basketball team. Roosevelt, all black, played Indianapolis Crispus Attucks, all black too. Attucks won. They had Oscar Robertson. There was no celebration in Indy when they won. Figure out why.
The irony here is that this 1955 game between two black schools was one year after the Milan state championship. You know that one. That’s the one Gene Hackman made a movie out of. It’s called “Hoosiers.” The irony here is that if you’re a small white school – Milan – and you beat a large school that has blacks on it – the Bearcats – then you get a movie made about you.
But if you’re a black school that beats another black school for the Indiana high school basketball championship, then you’re left out of any sort of celebration. You figure out the world in 1955. I wasn’t around then. My only understanding of it comes from books and guys like Chuck Hughes.
After the show this morning, I did what I usually do on Friday mornings. I went to my sister’s house to pick up my nephew Jack for breakfast.
“Great show this morning,” my brother-in-law Mark said from the john. He’s always on the john when I come on Friday mornings. I mentioned this to Jack.
“Your dad’s always on the john when I come here Fridays. How long does he sit in there?”
“Like a half an hour. And he talks to us in the kitchen through a crack in the door. It’s disgusting.”
The only reason that I tell this to the three or four of you is that Rick Kubic is doing a radio show right now on why guys sit for so long on the toilet. “Women do their business and get out. Men sit forever. Why?”
You can talk about stuff like this on a Friday. The regular rules don’t apply. It’s more open, forgiving.
Jack and I went for breakfast. He likes to sit at the counter at Round-the-Clock Restaurant in Highland, Ind. Jack is quite disappointed if there's no room at the counter. I get two eggs and some potatoes. He orders two eggs, potatoes, bacon, sausage and biscuits and gravy.
“That pie sure looks good,” Jack said. And since I am Uncle Yes, he got a piece of coconut cream that is to die for. On the drive to school, he fell asleep.
“Get up. Time for school.”
“I don’t want to go. Can’t I just go to your house and watch TV.”
“No. You’re the one who ate too much. Besides, it’s your graduation ceremony today.”
Jack and I agreed that since we went to breakfast, I didn’t have to go to his graduation from elementary school. This is my one mistake today. My sister just texted me:
“Jack won a big award… the Darrin Award. It’s for the DARE program. He was chosen as the role model out of the entire class of 90 kids. Chosen by Officer Ghrist.”
“Film?” I texted.
“No… sorry. I was caught off guard.”
There was a simple solution to this. If I was there, I would have stopped Officer Ghrist and made him do it again so I could film it. And you what? He would have. My one regret today is that I wasn’t there for Jack’s award. I was just there for the coconut cream pie.