Disorder piles up like newspapers on the dining room table.
It’s not chaos, exactly. It’s more like I lost my blow dryer and still care about my hair.
Television isn’t even the main factor.
Bits of code fly around on wires and through the air.
They’re supposed to make sense.
But they don’t. Not at all.
There is a lotta pain around.
It won’t go away.
I can hear it in the screech of brakes that need to be replaced.
The clank of a Lake Michigan pier tap tap tapping on fake beach, concrete.
A baby cries for French fries. A blank computer screen stares a writer
in the face.
We are atomized. Sometimes the TV won’t
work so we turn to computer. If that’s down, there’s always
cellphone. If, for some insane reason, none of these are available,
we go off the grid. We wait for civilization to return,
posts, streams, likes and shares.
Without the will to be silent – the ability to quiet –
we are lost in space full of sounds that won’t stop.
And they’re not pretty sounds. The gnashing of the
cosmos is not a harmony. It’s sound you
want to stop. Right now. Oops. The moment
is gone. Now is gone. We’ll never catch up.
We march, we heckle, we intimidate, we threaten.
The norm is fear, and we are getting pretty good at it.
Purple sash around a priest’s neck.
Who goes to confession anymore when it might be
a creep behind the curtain you can see through?
I see you, Mr. Priest. Why do you want to hear my
secrets? What have I done to you or anyone else to
deserve the wrath of God? I’m just a little kid. I steal
lunch money and covet my buddy’s
girlfriend, but 10 Hail Marys is not justice. Nothing
is. I am free and will always be free… as long as I’m
on drugs. When that trip’s over, I’ll come crashing back
where, like the rest of the cosmos, ungreased
gears grinds away any sense of creativity and
Silence sucks too. A glass of water on the nightstand
can’t compare to stillness in the middle of the night
when all you want to is not think. Paper clips in the
ashtray. Potato chips left out all night.
Eat surrender with your morning Cheerios
Collapse completely into white cotton underwear.
Expend your last bit of energy
pressing on the accelerator.
Arrive numb, walk briskly.
Accept your breadwinner duty.
Fantasize fully about nylon stockings.
Eat surrender with a club sandwich.
Collapse obediently into a
brown leather office chair.
Breathe your misgivings away.
Fly across your keyboard
Eat surrender with every email,
collapse gratefully to cosmic reverie.
There’s nothing else to say.
It’s 11:27 on Friday night. Our football games played despite several technological scares. It’s a crapshoot every time we go out to broadcast a game in video. There are so many moving parts. So much has to go right, including all the people showing up to the right places at the right time with the right equipment. It’s exhausting.
Tomorrow, we broadcast three high school sectional championships. It’s soccer, two boys and one girls. A lot has to go right for this to happen. The bright side of all of this worry is that really good people work for WJOB. How that happened, I have no idea because I haven’t taken the human resources yet. I’ve taken accounting, marketing, business law, and a couple others. But I haven’t taken human resources. We have hired talented and dedicated people despite my best efforts to be a formidable slacker.
There is one question I want answered in this world – what happens after this? It’s a large question, one that could fill a room in Bruce Wayne’s mansion. But don’t the three or four of you ever think about what’s on the other side?
Of what? On the other side of what?
The other side of now, you idiot. Today, after some of the staunchest division in our country’s history, we selected a possible sexual assaulter to the supreme court. A lot of people don’t care if he is one or not. It happened when he was 17 and she was 15. I don’t know if it’s true or not. Neither do you. We are hurting as Americans, but the pain will subside. A couple days from now we’ll be back to normal jawing at each other.
It comes out in my radio show every day. Today, I interviewed Bo Jackson. We talked about when he was a kid - the “family terror.” His mom would put him in the middle of the kitchen while she cooked. Otherwise, he’d “stick a fork in an electric socket.” I thought that was a pretty good line, especially from an athlete.
I’m an athlete, too, you know, and don’t the three or four of you forget that. You could call me a lot of bad names if you want, use some forbidden adjectives. But you can’t say that I wasn’t an athlete. Like Bo Jackson, I played a number of sports. He was a lot bigger than I ever was. That’s why he went on to play professionally in two sports. I boxed a couple times in Reno.
There is no sense in me or anyone else in America doing a comparison to Bo Jackson. It was just nice to hear this legend tell us about when he was a kid. His sister sounds kind. His brothers seem like a rolling mass of humanity a little out of control at times.
Another thing that populated my radio day was the chancellor of Purdue Northwest coming on the show. Tom Keon, like Lucille Ball, has a lot of explaining to do. He and the trustees came up with the idea to put “Purdue Northwest” at the top of everybody’s diploma instead of just “Purdue.” It seems that a lot of people up here at the Hammond campus still want the prestige of our West Lafayette counterpart. My wife’s diploma hangs over the computer in the spare bedroom.
God willing, I’ll get my MBA diploma in a year or so. I really don’t care what it says at the top. I just want the knowledge. I want to know how to run a business. I’m learning. I’m 56. If I don’t go to business school, then I probably won’t be able to give the Region a gift for every Christmas – our own TV station. We deserve one. I’m convinced of that.
The tasks ahead are numerous
The snakes in the path are
When the sun sets over Ridge Road,
sometimes it’s purple,
sometimes you can’t see it at all.
It’s still there, though. The grass
at Wicker Park is as green as
anywhere in the world.
I’m convinced of this.
You could lay down on one of
the lush tee boxes and fall
into slumber oblivion. You
might need a blanket
to keep the mosquitoes,
rain, snow, sleet, ice,
extreme heat and
coyotes away. But for a
couple of really special
moments, you could listen
to the rocking cradle of
80-94 and feel like you’re
at the edge
of the universe.
The transition to video from radio marches on. We had a big company meeting of hosts and such on Thursday. I did 90% of the talking. At one point, when I finally stopped blabbing to look around the room, I realized that there was a lot of talent in the room. That is one thing that Ryan, Debbie and I have been able to do – hire good people. That and keep costs low. Financing debt wisely, coming up with a strategic plan, these are things that I have only recently learned how to tackle with any sort of proficiency. There is poetry even in business, if you let it, if you don’t get too carried with greed and your own grandiosity.
That’s one of the things that bothers me about America right now. We accept unmitigated greed. It’s all around. You may have learned at an early age that the meek shall inherit the earth, but you threw away that haggard saying along with yesterday’s coffee grounds. Money, power, prestige, work, more, more, more. These are the tickets that lead us to the promised land. I can’t believe that we idolize Warren Buffet like we do.
Or the greediest man in America?
And don’t even ask me about Jeff Bezos. I am, of course, jealous, like every male who has to shift things around every month to pay the mortgage. But I don’t envy the unseen trap, the vapors of confinement, that come with handing over your soul to the pursuit of wealth and sappiness. There is no end to the coveting. A cure is not on the way.
Accept your breadwinner duty.
Breathe your misgivings away.
Eat surrender with a
Collapse into keyboard,
stroke your way to TWA.
Crawl back to your lair,
run three miles.
Eat surrender with
chicken and broccoli.
Watch TV. Kiss. Nuzzle.
Collapse thankfully into
Do it again.
America is moving. On top of Bo Jackson, Tom Keon and the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, a jury convicted a cop of murder for shooting and reshooting a man. It was a white cop shooting a black man. Someone caught it on video. That has made all the difference. Officer Van Dyke is going to jail with some of the very men he put there. If you were an artist, you could paint a picture of exactly how disassociated we are, disagreeing, distorted and disagreeable. It is a hate fest and a loyalty fest in the same nine-inning baseball game.
The baseball playoffs are going on. The Cubs are not in them. They lost two games in a row – 163 and 164. Anthony Rizzo is playing golf. Joe Maddon drives around in his motorhome. Cubs fans sit home and watch CNN, play backgammon. It’s another October watching other cities live through stress and glory.
I want the Brewers to win. I know that they’re the Cubs’ rivals, being so close and in the same division. But how can you hate Wisconsin? Here’s a little secret for the three or four of you – when the Bears aren’t playing, I look for the Packers. I want them to win. Sorry.
As the three or four of you know, I am trying to write, on average, a thousand words a day. It doesn’t work in a linear fashion. I tried that. For a while I could do a thousand words a day within the critical interval. But I often suppress inspiration these days. I am driven to give the Region a present, something that will last. A TV station. We’ve never had one. Why not?
It came to me while I was working out today, though, that I should probably back off on this obsession. I don’t know why it came to my mind. It was as if a little birdie tapped me on the shoulder and whispered –
Slow down. Let it come to you.
That makes sense. I’m pressing these days. I want whatever is going to happen to happen now. I want resolution. This is a fool’s game. The only real resolution is laying cold and lifeless in a funeral home next to a highway. That’s certainty, for sure. Everything else is an effort to control the outcome, and that rarely works. We made it to 2,000 words. So why don’t you shut up and go to sleep.