Saturday, March 28, 2015


A very long side note:

I got out of the habit of blogging not long after I moved into this house. For a while things were really tough and then they were really good. Blogging about how truly awful I felt seemed too self-indulgent. So, I dialed it down.

After I met Vanessa, things just got so  much better that I didn't think anybody would believe me or they'd think that I'd been holding out.

After a while, I just got out of the habit of blogging. I just didn't write much.

I missed it all the time, but I didn't feel like I needed it. I could walk away.

So last night I come home full up with anger and frustration. I sat down at the computer really just to do something besides open a second beer and glower at the cat, but the words came and when I was done, I felt a lot better.

I've always thought of the writing as just communication. This is me trying to connect and explain the things that sometimes don't come out so easily from my idiot mouth.

It's something else, too, something I never considered --it's therapy. I bottle stuff up. I obsess. I brood. I dwell. I am frequently frustrated by my job, my community; the people I love and the people I wish would get genital warts so large that they have to buy pants the next size larger.

I don't talk it out as much as I should and I don't know why. It seems to me like I do, like I'm constantly shouting "Ow!" at every physical, financial or emotional injury, but maybe I'm not. Maybe it gets buried in there somewhere or maybe I yell "ow!" but I don't actually put a band-aid on the wound. Maybe that's part of the problem.

Anyway, the blogging seems to help.

More about radio...

I got my second job in radio about a year after my first gig ended. For right at a year, I took a job working inbound customer service for a satellite television company based out of Canada. I like to refer to it as the worst satellite television company in the world and it was pretty bad. The equipment had been rushed to market and didn't work properly. The bulk of our customers seemed to be from the Spanish-speaking parts of central America and the call center was located in Bluefield, WV --which is not known for its vibrant Spanish-speaking community.

The job lasted exactly a year and then all of us were laid off just after the company announced it planned to cease broadcasting channels. They announced this in a message that scrolled across the bottom of their customers' television screens.

What a bunch of assholes.

In the interim, I answered an ad for a local radio station I didn't much like. They needed someone to write commercials and work with the sales force and the on-air talent. I interviewed, showed a panel of managers a couple of scripts I'd written while I was sitting around the trailer park and they were impressed --not impressed enough to hire me, but impressed.

I spent the next month selling vacuum cleaners --badly.

And just after I decided I wasn't meant to be a vacuum cleaner salesman, I got a call back from the radio station. The woman they'd hired, an old friend of the current station manager, was basically stinking up the joint. She was a little unbalanced, wasn't taking her medication, I was told, and worse, she was unreliable.

The commercials they needed her to write weren't getting done and the incoming station manager wanted her gone.

I was hired to assist her and do some production work, but then they fired her the day before I came into work.

I remember it well. It was Halloween. The sale staff were in costumes. One woman, Catherine, was dressed as Little Bo Peep. The company also provided pizza for lunch, something I was told, "not to get used to."

I almost didn't make it. When I came on staff, they showed me the system the last two people who'd held the job had used to manage the workload. I tried to do the same thing and fell flat on my face. It was one disaster after another.

For Thanksgiving weekend, a car dealer wanted us to run a different commercial every hour for four days straight on three different radio stations. I was called in Thanksgiving day to correct my mistake and then come Monday morning, the boss wanted my head.

"Can you even do this?" She shouted at me.

I told her I didn't know, but I asked her to let me give it one more shot.

How we'd done things before, how the copy writer had assigned things for people to do, I tossed it out the window, came up with my own, very simple, very primitive and very effective method.

We stopped making big mistakes. We stopped making little mistakes, mostly. The work got done. It was good work and for a while, they treated me like I was some kind of a miracle.

But nobody gets into radio to write commercials. I started asking about getting an air-shift. I was willing to do it for free, if they'd just let me.

No takers, until my old boss at the satellite company called me and offered to hire me back for three dollars an hour more than I was making at the radio station.

The radio station agreed to a two dollar an hour raise and gave me a weekend air-shift.

Everything seemed great... but really, it wasn't.   

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