But this is, for now, the deal – I will blog to you every day for as long as I can. There will come a day when I won’t want to say a damn word to you.
couldn’t hold his
pee. One day, Clarence
McPhee told him about
three, and he was never
the same again.
Starting out with only the shirt on his back, Clarence McFadden built a business empire that he was able to pass on to his ungrateful children. One’s a drug addict. One’s a shopper. And the other doesn’t usually know what day it is.
A lot of people say it was the children that drove old Clarence to live on a cliff over a lake far from the masses. In the evening, Clarence would light a fire and play solitaire. Then he’d turn off the light, hit the bed three times for the dog to jump up, and he’d fall into a deep sleep.
It could have been the children, but it could also have had something to do with sleep. In the city, you see, old Clarence rarely slept through the night. You could drive down Broadway at 3am and look up at his apartment building and there would be only one light on in the whole building. That would be Clarence sitting at the kitchen table playing solitaire on his Ipad.
The event that I want to tell you about happened in 1981, just after Clarence’s wife died. Clarence never said so, but you could tell that he loved his wife very much. After she died, Clarence would lie her bedclothes out each night on the other half of the bed. He would never roll over on them. In the morning, he’d throw them in the laundry and wash them. He very much did not want his wife of 50 years to go to bed in dirty clothes. He even laid out her underwear.
It’s 10:07pm on a Tuesday night. Alexis and I just got back from Ohare airport. We picked up daughter Jeanie, who is “visiting” her home from New York City.
There is one hiccup to the whole thing. This is the first time that Jeanie has seen the new arrangement with the bedrooms. Alexis and I moved into her room and made another room into an office. Truth be told, Jeanie, at the age of 25 and living in the Big Apple, doesn’t have a bedroom in Munster, Indiana no more.
“Oh well,” she said when we showed her our new bedroom that used to be her old bedroom. She left this house almost seven years ago to go to the University of Wisconsin. We waited a long time to move into the best room in the house. Jeanie got the good room a bunch of years ago because she suffered from asthma as a child and the good room has wood floors. It’s the little things in life that determine where you sleep.
It’s the end of a long day of radio. I woke up a little late this morning. I had what oldtimers would call a “thick head.” It’s hard to describe exactly what that means, but you know it when you got it. Today, I walked around much of the morning with an anvil stuck into my forehead. That’s what happens when you drink on a Tuesday.
Alexis and I met the Kusiaks and others to celebrate the engagement of Jordan Kusiak to a guy from Calumet City named Josh Galligan. To mark the occasion, proud papa Dave Kusiak and I turned into old men slogging glug at the bar. When my alarm clock went off at 4:30 this morning, I disregarded it and came in to do the show a half hour late.
I’d like to write a bunch of words for you, but my wife of 26 years just laid down next to me in bed. This usually means that she wants a modicum of attention.
“Why don’t you just go to bed, JED? You look tired.”
“Gotta write my blog.”
“That’s the deal. Gotta write it every day.”
You see, I’m sticking up for the three or four of you. No matter how tired or hungover I am, I have to wake up to do the radio show and write you a blog. Those are the two constants in my life. The rest is just extra frosting on a birthday cake that no one will ever eat.
Your birthday came and went
and nobody noticed. The fog
on the windshield means that
you’re still breathing, although
it’s kind of hard to tell
Row that boat as fast as you
can to the other side of the lake.
There’s something there that
you forgot about a lifetime ago.
It smells like fresh pillows and
and an orange candle.
On the show today, Santa Claus came in. He said the reindeers need the red lights of the WJOB tower to know their way. Santa also gave me a plum, poppyseed, and walnut nut roll. They’re amazing. Santa’s mom lives in Robertsdale. She makes hundreds of nut rolls for the holidays.
Sportswriter Al Hamnik came in after that. We talked about a fight at the freshman boys basketball game between Griffith and Hammond High. It’s not the first time these two schools have fought each other. The Region never disappoints. If it’s not an indictment, then it’s a fight at a high school basketball game. We are a lot of things, but boring isn’t one of them.
Late in the morning, the Hammond Performing Arts Academy singers and guitar players came in and played a bunch of Christmas songs. I interviewed each of the 14 kids. They’re all juniors and seniors, so it was pretty easy.
“Your name and what year are you?”
“Matilda Gutierrez. I’m a senior.”
“So Matilda Gutierrez, what do want to make happen after you graduate high school?”
I repeated this process 14 times. We did about 40 minutes of music and talk. 4,000 people have watched it on Facebook Live.
After the show, I went over to Albert’s Diamond Jewelers and did a short Facebook Live video with Josh Halpern. I talk about having anxiety at having to buy some last-minute gifts for the women in my life. Voila – there’s Josh at Albert’s Diamond Jewelers to help with my anxiety. You could watch the video if you want.
Then I went back to the WJOB studios and answered the phone while Debbie was out. Two different parties called in wanting to talk about buying advertising. Every time, it takes a while for this conversation. I have to tell the story of how we’ve evolved from sleepy AM radio station to buying an FM also and bursting onto the video scene with Facebook Live and Twitter video.
“Are you at your computer?”
“Then log into Facebook and type WJOB 1230 in the search bar.”
“I’m on your page. Wow, you do have a lot of videos…”
And the discussion goes from there. Every time we go through this, I realize that the only way that we’re ever gonna make any serious money from the Facebook Live video thing is if I get out and tell the story.
And I can’t just tell the story to people who call in to WJOB. I have to get out in the community and tell business people. When they click “Videos” on the left side of our Facebook page, they’re almost always amazed. Today in the video lineup, the prospective client got to see:
- my show
- a show by the people at Ivy Tech College
- the video of the students from Hammond Performing Arts
- a video show by Ray Candelaria called “Shanti Wellness”
- a video of a high school game last night – Lake Central at Munster – that too had a few thousand views.
“Oh my gosh. I didn’t know any of this,” the woman said. Twice. Two potential female advertisers said that today. I really do have to get out and tell the world what we’re doing.
John Salzeider, a lawyer of all people, made this observation to me last night.
“I just think that the media world is just changing so fast that no one really knows what to do in terms of advertising. I think you’re in the perfect postion to offer them a solution.”
I guess so. I hadn’t thought about the pace of change. I normally just try to define what the change is… not how fast it’s happening. Maybe that’s the key. It’s changing so fast that marketers don’t know what to do… but they know one thing – They gotta have Facebook Live video. Everybody has to.
Anyways, I’m writing this sitting on my bed in my boxers. My wife and two daughters are standing a few feet away in the bathroom. They’re talking about makeup remover and Cinnabons, grab bag gifts and eyeshadow. This never happens. My wife and daughters and I almost never sleep under the same roof. That’s gonna happen tonight. If my stepson Steve were to stop by for something to eat, we’d have the perfect trifecta.
In other words, it makes me happy to see my women talking to each other about stupid stuff. I can type right through it like always. I have always been able to write in my notebooks or peck away on the computer through just about anything. That’s how it is.
Later in the afternoon today, I went over to Laborers 41 hall to give blood to the Red Cross. I have the kind of blood they want, so it killed two birds with one stone. I helped out the Red Cross, and I supported the philanthropic effort of one of my staunchest supporters – the Laborers. I was, as the three or four of you know, once a Laborer. I could go out into my driveway right now and start up a compressor, hook up a few air hoses, and start jackhammering the concrete. Once a Laborer always a Laborer.
That’s one of the things that I’m most proud of lately, by the way. The Laborers, Carpenters, Ironworkers and Electricians support me a in a big way. And a couple more may be joining the fold. These are construction workers, like I was in the past and will in my heart always be.
You should have seen all the Laborers coming into the hall to give their blood. Some are 35 years younger than I am. They are lean, a little dirty, unshaven and strong as hell. I was once that. Now I’m sitting on the bed and if I lean over too far, my belly blocks the view of the computer screen.
A flat belly is overrated. I’d rather die
having eaten a ton of chocolate chip
cookies. You could, of course, overdose
on kale, but if you do that, who would
play Grateful Dead at your funeral ?
There’s a question for every reason,
and “kale” is never the right response.
Please leave me alone right now.
I’m trying to figure out what to
do with the rest of my life.
So there it is.
- Ivy Tech
- Student musicians
- A diamond salesman
- Laborers’ spilling blood
- A drive to the airport to see my daughter who lives way far away in a big city. Her arrival is no doubt the highlight of my day, week, month. It’s just how it is. And if at any time I have to choose between spending some time with her and writing to the three or four of you, then you’re shit out of luck. Talk to you tomorrow – maybe.