Sunday August 21, 2016

Love, Me

Since I have moved out of Chicago for the first time in my life and into my sister’s home located in a suburb of Rockford, life’s been different. You can see more of the sky out here because buildings are being buildings and blocking out the skyline in the city. Not here. I love this aspect of it. Red lights seem longer out here and reaction times are slower. Makes sense. The ‘burbs are why people move out of the city, aren’t they? And it’s for that reason and so many others I have witnessed and found in the short month I have been here that people do this: move to the suburbs. Sissy and I – in this passed month – quickly realized our schedules were not conducive to what we had imagined: getting to know each other all over again in later adult life. So one of the ways we have communicated is by leaving leftovers for each other in the refrigerator or on the table. Sometimes “take out, fast food” that either her or I nibbled and couldn’t finish, sometimes dishes we created for dinner. We have left them there for whatever reasons. You can get to know a person by the sorts of food they buy for themselves at a drive-thrus and leave in the fridge for later.

One day, Sissy left me a whole package of Reese’s peanut butter cups on the kitchen table and texted me from work or told me in person – I can’t remember which: “Those are for you.” I was astounded and amazed that someone could think of someone else in that awesome, selfless sort of way. A small package of love. So I quickly decided in the short time I have been living there with her that I would – if nothing else – at least try to replace, move or otherwise tidy things that might need it just so when she came home she would see something different than when she had left. One of the other ways we communicate is by leaving each other notes on this notepad on her kitchen table because as I am getting into bed she is waking up to go in super early to her job.

Here are some examples of the things we’ve left for each other on that community notepad in the short month we have been roommates. Mind you, we have not lived together since 1979 so bear that in mind when you’re reading these.

Dear Mikey,
What the hell were you thinking that time at the Rush concert? WTF? Love, Me.

Dear Sissy,
IKR? I figured if you guys wanted a ride home the only way I could protect Dad’s car was to cover the front and back seats in industrial plastic. It made things sweaty but neither one of us got into trouble. Love, Me.

On another day:

Dear Mikey,
We can talk about dinner when I get home. Tonight and tomorrow are my days off. Love, Me (smiley face)

Dear Sissy,
As Dad used to say, “I’m happy with a boiled potato and a glass of milk.” Love, Me.

Dear Mikey,
Mom called and said she needs a gallon of milk. (I now live closer to my mother and the rest of my family) Love, Me.

Dear Sissy,
How about we buy her a cow? I’ll take care of it. I know a guy. Love, Me. (smiley face)

Dear Mikey,
You have to find that cable box from your old apartment and take it into the cable place. They called. Love, Me.

Dear Sissy,
How about we go back to what Mel Brooks called “television” in caveman times and just cut a big hole in the side of your house and whatever walks in front of the hole, we watch. We’ll show those cable Nazis! Love, Me.

Dear Mikey,
I love Animal Planet too much. Find the box. Love, Me.

Dear Sissy,
I still have 1,239 boxes to go through. And I’ve been their customer since 1985, through three names changes and 5 or 6 other cable box changes. They better cut me some slack. I’m only one person. Love, Me.

Dear Mikey,
I’ll help you find it. Love, Me.

Dear Sissy,
I can’t even find my clean underwear and it’s been a month already. Love, Me.

Dear Mikey,
What have you been wearing? Love, Me.

Dear Sissy,
I’ve been going, “commando.” Love, Me.

Dear Mikey,
Ewwwwwww, TMI! Love, Me.

Sissy,
Did you ever notice how blue your skies are out here? Love, Me.

Dear Ralph Waldo Emerson,
Duh! Love, Me.

Dear Mikey,
Thank you for washing the dishes. There’s some leftover lasagna in the fridge from Cyndi’s last night. Love, Me.

Dear Sissy,
I love a red sauce as much as the next person but if it’s all the same to you, we have bologna that’s coming close to it’s expiration date and I’mma eat that, k? Love, Me.

Dear Mikey,
Thanks for doing that. I’ll get you something special at the market today. I was thinking, that girl at the checkout from aisle 4 that you liked so much when we went last week. Love, Me.

Dear Sissy,
Remind me to bring my cellphone. I’ll take a selfie of us on our first date for you and send it to you via Skype or text or Facebook Messenger or something. It’s the least I can do for such a wonderful thing you did. Imagine that? Being fixed up with the single mother of 4 who’s fingernails were bitten off to the nubs, a tooth missing in the front and hair three shades of Miss Clairol #22, #39 and # 57. I’m going to love the suburbs! Love, Me.

Dear Mikey,
HA! HA! HA! She reminded me of that girl you dated in the eighties that Mom said never bring inside the house again. Only an older version of. . . . . . what was her name? Love, Me.

Dear Sissy,
HA! HA! HA! Phyllis. (And she only had two kids) Love, Me.

Anyways, there you have it. A representation of my first month living in the Suburbs. It can only get better from here. I hope!

Sissy, I love, you,
Love, Me.

🙂

MJC

Word Count:1060 Post # 1160

Monday August 1, 2016

One of the things you find out early on when writing a blog is that this is a lonely business. You can’t call this a part of your,”social network,” because it’s not. It’s long form. And anyone switched into technologies knows the, “long form,” is something that is looked upon – by the average everyday think pad, smart phone, Internet user as a thing they simply do not have time to invest in. And yet, it’s all pervasive, this, “social networking, smart phoning and think padding.” It, in a relatively short amount of time, has captured practically every spare moment belonging to thinking, feeling, breathing human beings taking up the sixth sevenths of this planet’s population. (The estimated amount of people who own smart phones on planet Earth: six of of every seven people.)

That’s the reason bloggers, like myself, are lonely people. I, when I’m thoughtful enough, weigh. I weigh. I don’t react in the first fourteen seconds of any catastrophe (although my commodity market training makes me do as such anyways) that hits CNN or breaks in on television programming or hits my Twitterverse. I am speaking for myself only now. And anyway, that’s not what this blog has ever been about. When Al Gore (and I invented the Internet) bragged about “political bloggers” being allowed in certain sessions of the Senate and House of Representatives, I thought to myself, “Why – unless a paid journalist – would anyone do that?” Take a laptop into a Congressional hearing, meeting, etc., and write about the proceedings they witnessed? And then it occurred to me. Some people do it as a hobby.

Most of us, however, cannot afford to sit in Congress all day and we take up other hobbies like gardening and woodworking and in my case: blogging. Not political blogging. Just blogging in general. God bless the person that can trundle around Washington and do that kind of thing. I simply cannot. I am mostly a blogging hobbyist. A modern day philosopher. This is my hobby. It’s not political. It’s not pop culture. It’s not matchbook psychology. It’s not radio, television and film. It’s not even a social media critique. But it has elements of each. Time and time again, I say this blog, is, “me.” There is no clearer way to put that. It’s the love of the,”art of expression.” Weighing. Thinking. Feeling. Humor. “My” personal freedom of speech. Haters beware because haters will hate as the Taylor Swift song tells us. I don’t write about you in here. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Perhaps if I did, blogging wouldn’t be such a lonely business.

I have been around the Internet long enough to know that negativity is not a thing I want to spend my time spewing.

Wonderment. With the world around me and the expression of that wonderment is what I want this to be.

And if at 54, I never have all trappings of conventional, societal affiliations? Then this blog is my, “child.” My,”baby.” My production. And if all that’s the case, then this blog not only becomes my legacy but the drop down menu and the eleven years of writing a consistently inconsistent blog it collectively becomes my collective autobiography. Why would I not want to treat this material, this space, with the utmost respect? This is hallowed ground, man! The place where I can write, “when I in awesome wonder consider all the worlds His hands have made” and have it mean precisely that. Or type out my infamous parrot joke I stole from Bob A. from Pillsbury at the grain exchange and made my own to the point people quite literally would take me to other desks on the trading floor and say,”Mike tells this insane joke. You gotta hear it. Tell him, Mike.” Why can I not post a blog about a duck on the Fox River? Or a blue heron? Or just write about my day? Because the jealous haters don’t want me to.

You think I’m going to stop now? After eleven years of this? How does this guy write six hundred fifty to a thousand words more than just a few times a month for eleven years? Because it’s my hobby, my offspring and my life. It’ll be here for as long as WordPress allows. Come back when you get over yourself. I’ll still be doing this and I’ll still be here.

Opionated, crusty, curmugeonly.

Why stop now?

🙂

MJC

Post #1159 Word Count: 771

Sunday July 17, 2016

Roommates

In the eleven years this blog has existed, it’s been quite a few things to me. It has been my catharsis and my media review depository. It has showcased homages to the famous and infamous and this blog has also contained chapters from my parent’s flight from tyranny. Today it’s my journal and diary. I am going to become a roommate for the first time in my life in one short week and I am choosing it over living alone.

Eight years ago during the economic crisis and the massive layoffs that happened in this country and all over the world, I had no choice in the comfort of, “staying” somewhere. Being with the same people for twenty-one years – a total of twenty-four – between two different companies (using the same trading facility, same building, similar offices) day in and day out was bittersweet for me especially when the human resources person from my company’s home office and my boss sat me down and said to me, “Well, Mike, we sort of seen this coming in this industry.” The layoff.

Not seeing the same people anymore. Not riding the same commute. My desk with it’s gray, upholstered, mega-form enclosure, about chest high, with family photos, newspaper cartoons and inspirational quotes pinned to it. The conversations in person and on the phone. The paperwork. The laughs. The intense highs and debilitating lows of commodity futures trading personality clashes and how I got through that mess. The longer I dwelled on the, “bittersweet,” the more I forgot I was being sent away. Less of that rejection, the confusion and anger remains now eight years removed from the layoff and the bittersweet resurfaces more and more, I’m finding.

This week, however, I realize my choice is my own. A huge change is happening this week and it’s all my decision. No one’s making it for me. I decided on this major life change. Me and me alone. Nineteen years living alone. Nineteen years since I moved out of my family home which I helped a real estate agent show while my parents built their retirement home up north. The, “roommate” opportunity presented itself to save a shekel here or there, to better myself in that process, to start fresh again and to make a change. I’m choosing. Not the other way around.

Perhaps I not only should be thanking my roommate – whom I am grateful to have – but, too, The Great Electron in the Sky not only for this choice but for my freedom to choose it. Hell, the freedom to, “choose” is a really big deal, if this is boiled down, actually. Some people can’t choose much in their lives and here I am at 54, doing things teenagers do: moving in with a roommate. I am not as resilient as a teenager. Perhaps not as open to new experiences, so that this transition in its immense blessing does carry with it elements of, “curse,” too.

For example – and this is an example a friend used to share – the difference between married and single people, or roommates and people that live alone. Do what you want. When you want. In whatever stage of clothing you want. Leave things out of place. Put off ‘til tomorrow something that interferes with your today. This, all, versus cooking together, perhaps, cleaning together, washing clothes together and doing dishes together. Asking permission for having guests come over. Knowing which foods in the refrigerator belongs to whom. Division of chores and finances. Twice the garbage to take out. And the all-important, “Hey as long as you’re up. . .”, sorts of favors. Plusses and minuses.

My one true hope in all this is that it turns out for the best, for the good of me and my roommate. Let’s face it, no one at this late stage in the game – gets into roommate situations without a measure of trepidation as well as, “hope.” It’s a pretty daunting thing to know bills are due, doggies need to be walked, we’re out of milk or bread or eggs, or what have you, your cleanliness may be scrutinized or the way you suck spinach out from between your teeth. Perhaps the way you,”chew,” and on and on. How about just as many expenses as when you lived alone and thinking you can afford more now that you have someone to, proverbially, “lean on.” This transition will definitely be a, “slippery slope,” for myself and my roommate, too. I am not the easiest guy to get along with.

Sissy, I’m coming in a week. I hope we’re both ready for this. I love you and thank you.

Your little brother,

Mike

🙂

Post: 1158. Word Count: 794.

Wednesday July 13, 2016

gg1Some of the things you learn while listening to Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast (ACP) on a regular basis are that Gilbert Gottfried knows an awful lot about movies. All sorts of movies from all different eras of filmmaking. He also points out on almost every podcast – since he began making them available sometime in 2014 – which movie or television actors are Jewish – which has long been a staple of his stand-up comedy humor. Twice each week – once on a longer ACP offering and again later in the week in a different, shorter podcast called, Amazing Colossal Obsessions (ACO) with his co-host, Frank Santopadre (not a Jew), Gottfried hosts a radio formatted, talk show containing lesser known hearsay, insider nuggets of information about movie and television stars, interviews with legends and persons of note and lays out a veritable map of show business history. Saying you will hear something you’ve never heard before on every single podcast and “obsession” is an understatement. As the kids might say nowadays, this stuff is way too much information, or, TMI. But it’s hysterical, too!

Another staple of the show, one finds, is that Gottfried has a special interest in the horror movie genre, specifically, being an avid fan of Lon Chaney Jr. Apparently, there is no shortage of dead celebrity offspring and grandchildren out there who’ll come on the show – in person or on the telephone – to speak about their relationship and admiration for their parents or grandparents. Regular audiences of ACP have been treated to interviews with Lon Chaney Jr.’s grandson, Bela Lugosi’s son and Boris Karloff’s daughter. These next of kin interviews have been enlightening and celebrate the horror movie stars – giving them the credit and respect they deserve although they have passed away long ago. Hearing the stories of what went on during the filming of particular Frankenstein movies is pretty compelling stuff.

You also get stories you’d never hear in a million years on current television interview / talk shows because the long-format podcast lends itself better to in-depth stuff and sometimes more spicy, more adult humor than an eight minute segment on Ellen, the Jimmys or any other talk show. One such recent ACP, Gottfried cackles wildly upon hearing 1960s game show host, singer and comedian, Peter Marshall tell stories of the stars who used to appear on the Hollywood Squares game show such as Charlie Weaver (grandfather to actors, Rosanna, Patricia and David Arquette) who dressed like a woman as part of his act and for the fun of it once, went to the seedier sides of Hollywood and stood on street corners to amuse himself and to see how many men might try and pick him up. Gottfried is also credited with telling the filthiest Hollywood comedian’s insider joke, “The Aristocrats,” of anyone out there. (Numerous comedians telling their version of this joke is available on a DVD of the same name.)

Other, weirder stories exist that Gottfried and Santopadre relate and retell quite frequently. The Danny Thomas story, The Cesar Romero story and why the Marx Brothers continued to make movies long after their popularly waned at the box office. (“Chico needed the money.”) All sorts of stories the normal, average, every-day movie goer might not know from merely having watched old movies on late night television. Be that as it may, the podcast is interesting, funny and even when Gottfried regularly takes a joke way beyond the measures of good taste, Santopadre can be heard reacting with a smile and a wink in his voice. The scruffy throated Gottfried has a knack for remembering small incidental scenes and obscure movie songs and performs these things regularly on the ACP. Santopadre, when Gottfried sings, “the singing Mammoths song” from the movie, Bang the Drum Slowly (a Robert Deniro movie Rotten Tomatoes likens to, “the ‘Brian’s Song’ of baseball movies.”) offers praise and a hearty, “Bravo!” for the sheer memory it takes recall these things.

So the entire podcast, including the shortened, “Obsessions” one (entirely different from the longer, interview podcast) makes listening either a hysterical train wreck or a veritable, “cold potato soup,” of really cool television and movie trivia. Who wants to hear which actors are Jews and which aren’t? Apparently, I do! Who wants to hear about how many roles Gottfried screen tested for and which ones he got? I do! How many want to hear Gilbert Gottfried ask another old time Hollywood legend or comedian if “the Milton Berle myth” is really true? I do! And apparently lots of others do, too because the ACP and ACO podcasts are sponsored podcasts making producing and creating a rich podcast such as these a lot easier on everyone involved. What may not be considered easier on the listener, however, is hearing the parrot from Disney’s Aladdin tell – and his co-host react to – the telling of that Danny Thomas story again.

But it ~IS!~ funny as hell!

And I am a fan.

🙂

MJC

Post #: 1157 Word Count: 846

(This week’s podcast (#111) is an interview with long-time, comedian and impressionist John Byner with whom Gilbert Gottfried, a skilled impressionist himself, trades celebrity imitations.)

Sunday July 10, 2016

The light show last week during the rain storms that passed through this area was a thing to behold. I had held out so long taking the car in for a wash I was happy Mother Nature had done the job for me. July 10th already and so few instances in recent memory of good rain storms. I’m happy it rained. But whoever said you have to learn to dance in the rain was full of baloney and I’ll tell you why. He or she must have been talking about those cloudbursts that occur without a lot of noise and high winds because first of all – dancing in really wild wind isn’t really dancing at all, is it? It’s hydroplaning.

High winds during really heavy showers push you around like Kevin Spacey pushed that poor kid around in, Swimming With Sharks. When there’s no traction on the soles of your shoes, blustery, windy rain storms hydroplane you around like a mofo. I bet you could learn to do, “The Moonwalk” a lot easier in a rainstorm. In dress shoes. Not gym shoes. Half an inch of water under your feet helps. Although I think the quote does use the word, “barefoot.” Dancing barefoot in the rain trying to do The Moonwalk is probably best served wearing shoes like the kind Gene Kelly wore in that movie. Optimally, no matter barefoot or wearing shoes, a mudslide is probably the best condition in which to learn to Moonwalk. That would probably give you the traction you needed under any circumstances but don’t you still have to worry – in rainstorms – about being struck by lightning?

Which brings up another interesting question. Umbrellas. Who in their right mind decided umbrellas were what was called for to carry around, open, this long metallic thing in your hand during rainstorms? Isn’t that like giving you ipecac syrup before a hotdog eating contest? Or pouring gasoline all over you before you light off your spectacular fourth of July backyard fireworks extravaganza? How is not an umbrella a lightning rod you hold in your hands during a bad thunderstorm? Unless it’s made of wood? Or bamboo. Then you’re fine. But if the handle and shaft of an umbrella is made of metal or aluminum how is not electricity bursting all around you not dangerous? Especially if it’s one of those huge golf umbrellas? What if you’re dining al fresco in some outdoor cafe sitting under a Cinzano patio umbrella? Instant perm in your hair. No?

“Oh it’s just a little rainstorm, kids. You can stay in the pool.” Next thing zap and zap! One minute you’re sitting under your patio umbrella on your backyard deck watching your kids as they frolic in the pool – swimming in water – which is also conductive to electricity, I might add, and the next minute there’s a gaping hole in the family tree! So if the park pool closes whenever there’s a bad rainstorm, why would you still let Cameron and Seth keep swimming? Seems odd to me. It also seems odd under these kinds of circumstances to even go out period. Why can you not dance “near” the rain – like, indoors – and watch satellite television during a rainstorm? Wait! Might not a microwave satellite dish also be conductive to electricity? It’s metal. With all the surge protection fail safes built into these things, you’re probably safe. Why not just stand under one of those cast iron, rooster shaped weather vanes, during the rain storms that pass through? It’s a 50 / 50 proposition whatever you do.

Never, ever, ever wear one of those aluminum foil conehead thingies that Joaquin Phoenix and Mel Gibson wore in that movie, that time. Or one of those “Diver Dan” cast iron, diving mask thingies with that window in the front that fits over your head like huge beach ball. Or have a glass of water in your hands. So anything metallic or having to do with water is a bad idea anytime there’s a thunder or lightning storm. But if it’s just a rainstorm with none of that other stuff. You should probably dance. According to the experts.

Isn’t it always harder to hit a moving target?

🙂

MJC

Post # 1156. Word Count: 719

Wednesday June 29, 2016

I am always so amazed at some things in this life when I encounter them. Being somewhat of a pack-rat, I am always astounded with anyone in my age group whose managed to have kept mementos for all of their life. Don’t get me wrong. I do, too. I have kept some things over the course of my life. A lot of folks are better at this than me: keeping keepsakes and items of sentimental value from one’s life and from previous generations. That’s my conclusion. I used to be better at this. Hoarding. Pack-ratting. Squirreling away stuff that means something. I mean those terms in the nicest possible way, too. Not like the show, “Hoarders” on television who shows people like that in the worst possible light imaginable. Hoarding, on that show is oftentimes dangerous and sometimes has proven to be fatal. Until someone comes in and helps the person straighten out and clean up their home.

Once, a friend sent me an email wherein they sent a series of photographs of some people who had a guest room in their home filled with empty Pabst Blue Ribbon beer cans, enough so, that a person going into the middle of the room could physically wade – chest high – through them. That kind of made me sick to my stomach. Drink a beer, open a door, toss the can in to the pile. Who does something like that? Disgusting! If something is waste or garbage, it’s waste or garbage. Throw it out like normal people. (Although I wonder if they were hoarding the cans for the aluminum?) Regardless. Take a shovel, clean up your mess. Take those cans to the metal recycling place for crying out loud! Throw out what you don’t use anymore. Maybe they wanted a conversation piece for their guests when they came over? “Done with that beer, bro? Yeah open that door we have a garbage can in there.”

I learned a lesson about hoarding years ago when I moved out of my first apartment and into the place I have been living these last 15 years. That place, I moved into from home and was there for almost four years. The reason all of this is on my mind is because I assume I’m moving out soon. Perhaps the next month. And it will be time to make decisions again just as I did when I first moved out from home. When I moved here, that decision was made for me by a leaky water main in my basement storage locker. Apparently one day the owner either got a complaint or saw his water bill was higher than normal or something and rang my bell and told me they needed to work in my locker and asked for my keys. I never really had occasion to go down there after that until I moved and the owner returned my keys telling me they had covered my stuff with a plastic drop cloth so they could work in there. ‘Comes time to move and a ton of stuff had water damage.

Mementos, bric-a-bracs, college text books, college folders, papers, journals from when I first started writing them at twelve or thirteen years of age. Gone! Too mildewy to try and salvage. Photographs. Etc., etc. etc. When I saw what had been done I wanted to complain but to what end? When my father saw the level of waste and garbage I had had to throw out, he suggested my video storage bins numbering in the teens each containing 24 VHS tapes were better served not keeping and I threw those out, too. Mostly. Kept a few things I liked. Movies. College audio and video projects. By the time I locked the door and threw the house keys in the basement drop slot, I had filled two dumpsters with damaged mementos, keepsakes, garbage, and VHS tapes. I took photos of it (and of my apartment, which was left clean) to remember the work I put into reducing clutter in my life because I thought that alone was a heartbreaking, milestone event.

There were very little salvageable from my locker that I had bought from that first apartment to this one when I moved out. Personal effects of one’s life. Gone. Looking over my shoulder at those two dumpsters was bad enough but the process itself nearly killed me. Handling things, looking at them at how damaged they were, I began to cry. When my father saw me, he said, “It’ll be okay, Sonny. You will make new memories.” I fully expected him to tell me to “man up,” but he didn’t. (Another reason – as an adult – I loved my Dad so much.)

Now the time will be coming to reduce my life again and this time Dad will not be around to reassure me. Cookware, glassware, furniture, bedding, towels, appliances, my electronic toys and musical instruments, etc., all getting the once over and proverbial, “smart eye” in my decision making process to reduce my life once again and get ready to move. What can I decide to cut loose and what do I really need? What can I do without? What can I not not do without. Chipped dinner plate? Throw the whole set out? Clothes not fitting is a no brainer. How does one decide? Last time the decision was made for me by that damned water pipe in my locker. This time I have to choose. Which of my personal effects do I take with me. How much of my “stuff” do I carry forward? What goes to The Salvation Army and Good Will and what do I save?

None of any of this means anything to anyone else.

But it means something to me.

🙂

#reduceyourlife
#projectreduction
#onemansgold

MJC

Word Count: 971. Post # 1155

Monday June 27, 2016

This one time Bob Sirott came to me in a dream. (WLSAM, Chicago disc jockey from 1973 – 1980, television personality, West 57th, CBS network, various local Chicago area television news achor, WFLD, WMAQ, WGN and co-hosted a WGN-AM radio program with his wife, Marianne Murciano according to Wikipedia) Which is a funny place for a reenactment of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol to take place, considering Bob Sirott is still alive and has no business portraying any of the “A Christmas Carol” ghosts for me in my dream. I think Dicken’s story did take place in a dream but no ghosts were portrayed as living. Marley was Scrooge’s co-worker and had recently passed in that adventure. He was the first ghost. I’ve never worked with Bob Sirott nor is he a ghost. As a Chicagoan he might be a little pasty, but he and I did share the same high school at different times. We both graduated from Roosevelt High School but about ten years apart or so, but I digress.

As I was saying, Bob Sirott came to me in a dream one time and asked, “Remember Communications 101 at Northeastern?”

And I said, “Yeah, Bob, I do.” Which is not really a strange thing – to be calling Bob Sirott, “Bob,” because that is his name. Assuming familiarity with him by calling him by his first name and not, “Mr. Sirott,” is probably a dramatic device my head used during the dream to make me sound like a, “hep, in-the-know, corporate cat.” Or an adult. It’s what adults do. Call each other by their names. Sixth graders on a play ground, look at each other and say, “Hey,” and that’s usually responded to with another, “Hey”, which is a very simplistic way of building rapport and lends itself nicely to casual conversation. But again, I digress. As I was saying before I rudely interrupted myself. Twice. I told Bob Sirott I had remembered Introduction to Communications 101 at Northeastern, lo, those many years ago and he responded by saying,

“That should have been the time you joined a trade school or your father and brother in, ‘tool and die’ and settled into a steel workers union job that would have been your ticket to sitting pretty by the time you reached retirement. You should not have taken notes, sat in class, heard lectures on ‘media gatekeepers’ all wide eyed and Pollyanna thinking your communications degree – if you made it to graduation – would automatically grant you some kind of “in” into the wonderful world of radio and / or network broadcast television.”

“Yeah. I know,” was my reply to ole’ Bob there, in my dream.

“Also, not being able to intern and make contacts in downtown really hurt you”, Bob added.

“I was working five days a week, full-time at that point and finishing up my degree at nights, Bob. I had talked to, “Walk” and he said that by working nights and finishing up my liberal arts degree taking night classes was ambitious but was preventing me from interning somewhere and was unfortunate because radio stations and television stations really had no night time interns or there were no positions available readily for someone like me” I said.

“Ahh, Doctor Walker.”

“Yeah.”

“So he really wasn’t forthcoming in mentoring you in a professional, academic manner to lead you to your goals in life? And education. . .”

“. . .that after my first year and a half I paid for myself. . .”

“. . .was now seeming to you like it’s not everything it’s cracked up to be.”

“Yes,” I said. “By the way. How do you know all this stuff about me, Bob?”

“It’s your dream,” replied Bob, “You tell me.”

“The girl from Northeastern, down at your day job – downtown – who helped produce that, “Trading Game” Janet Davies documentary in town, walking around your workplace for a few days?”, added Bob. “You should have been all over that like a, ‘duck on a June bug.’”

“I dropped the ball on that one, Bob.”

“You did. Right. She would have blown you off the first fourteen or fifty-three times you tracked her down and called her, maybe even called the police on you for stalking. But that’s cool. Perseverance. She would have caught on by the time you were in jail, that you were serious. Why didn‘t you go for it, bonehead?”

“I don’t know, Bob. ‘Failure to launch’ and taken up with earning a living.”

“But your parents allowed you to mope around at home into your early thirties.”

“I never asked Mom for money when she needed something from the store. Put gas in dad’s tank when I used his car, paid a few bills every month – always the cable – and gave them something in rent every month, Bob. Not because I had to but because it was, ‘the right thing to do.’”

“Which prepared you for standing on your own two feet.”

“Yeah, it did.”

“So do you want to go visit, ‘The Ghosts of Career Past, Present and Future’?”

“Skip it, Bob.”

“Isn’t that part of the story here? The dream we’re in? That all three of those things combined show you how you messed up in the passed, how you’re messing up in the present and how messed up your future might have been had you actually traveled down that media road and became one of the WLUP radio shock jocks or Oprah’s flunky or even Ringmaster Ned’s cheeseburger delivery boy from the old, ‘Bozo’s Circus’ show? Hell, you could have been MY intern! Don’t you want to see? Come on! Let’s go see!”

“No, Bob, I don’t want to. And honestly, I just realized. I’m just passing through, my man. Just passing through. These challenges and disappointments are not the end of the road for me. Life is long. There’s a lot more to come! Darwin! Henry Ford! Vera Wang! Robin Chase, the Zipcar lady! Samuel L. Jackson! Rodney Dangerfield, for crying out loud! Success later in life, Bob. Success. Later. In. Life.”

“So with this new found hope, are you going to run to the window, open it, throw down a few shekels to some street urchin and have him go buy me the biggest, prize, Thanksgiving turkey in some nearby butcher shop window because I helped you come to terms with all this?”

“In your dreams, Bob. In your dreams!”

🙂

MJC

Word Count: 1093. Post # 1154