The Interested Listener

My tractor has me depressed.  Not because it’s broke.  (It’s an antique and I work it like a mule.  It has every right to expect maintenance and repair.)  It’s because every time I try to fix it I get interrupted.  Countless duties, all of which take precedence, suddenly crop up.

It’s uncanny.  If I pick up a wrench and walk toward my long suffering machine something will happen.  Asteroid strike, Viking invasion, an unavoidable business trip to Guam.  Always something always urgent.

The tractor is hanging over my head like the sword of Damocles and I can’t keep the lid on other stuff long enough to do anything about it.  It’s as if God himself hates my little Ford.

So I pulled my original blog header:And replaced it with one that didn’t remind me of failure:Doubletrouble noticed.  Nobody else did.

Which brings me to a story:

…………………………………………..

Many moons ago I was a radio DJ. You might picture an exciting hip mixmaster doing blow off a supermodel’s ass in a limo on the way to a gleaming recording studio.  It was nothing like that.

The pay sucked, the hours sucked, and the music was so brain numbingly repetitive that it should be banned by the Geneva convention.  As much as I might have wished for it, there were no supermodel asses in the dim stuffy 10’x10′ soundproof box where I languished.  Just a lot of coffee and some stone age equipment.  (This was not a college radio station…it was a job.  Curmudgeons get paid or they go home.)

The marketing pressure on top 40 songs was relentless and there were other drawbacks.  Some examples:

  • There was a period of weeks when some nameless corporate flak decided to elevate Debbie Gibson from talentless jailbait to talentless hyper-promoted mercilessly overplayed jailbait.  I was forced to play her crap endlessly.  (I submit the Nuremberg Defense.)

    What the hell happened in the 1980's?

  • The Michael Bolton era (or as I like to call it; “the dying of the light”) was even worse.  Once, in a fit of despair I played Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay but used the Otis Redding track (as God intended).  Immediately some squeaky teenage airhead called to demand who “this new guy Otis was” and “why he was copying Michael Bolton”.  Folks, nobody can prepare themselves for this level of spiritual oblivion.  Since the caller probably didn’t choke to death on her own stupid (which is a shame) I assume she still walks among us.  Statistically it is likely that she procreated.  Therefore I conclude that another generation of very very stupid people is alive and somewhere right now fucking up life for the the rest of us.
  • Did I mention 36 consecutive hours of Christmas Carols?  I needed the money and nobody else would take the shifts.

    I should have made money doing something more honorable, like stealing organs from hobos.

  • And of course there were sports.  Roughly 1,450,987 baseball games per week. Nine synapse meltingly boring innings each. I used to set timers to keep myself awake.

    A game that quotes statistics to add excitement?

  • The ultimate boredom was running the board for high school sports on radio.

One evening I was running the board while a remote announcer was calling a girl’s JV basketball game.  I don’t want to sound dismissive but girls junior varsity basketball on the radio was worse than static.  Sports should involve hulking steroidal monsters in gladiatorial combat.  Ideally the participants should bludgeon each other while wearing enough armor to absorb the kind of impacts that would normally kill a Yak.  Non-team sports should involve very fast vehicles with a tendency to explode. (N0te to NASCAR: vehicles should steer both left and right.) I also totally dig watching bullfights and rodeos…men in large hats getting stomped in the groin by unhinged livestock. Excellent!

A fourteen year old girl dribbling a basketball is just not up to snuff.  Hearing someone describe a fourteen year old girl dribbling a basketball had almost stopped my pulse  In fact I’d rather watch lizards fuck on a pancake.  (Note: My editorial staff has pointed out that “lizards fuck on a pancake” is a metaphor which makes no sense and furthermore that I’ve never actually seen lizards on a pancake doing anything.  I respond that it makes perfect sense to me and the threat of lizards and pancakes is precisely why I don’t have cable TV.)

It had been an unusually close game.  The score was tied.  Shelbyville was playing Springfield and it was some sort of playoff game. The crowd (there’s a crowd at a high school girls basketball game?) was screaming like rabid squirrels in heat.  (The editors would like to point out…  THIS IS AN UNEDITED BLOG!)  The clock only had a few seconds left when someone unexpectedly snatched the ball and flat out hammered for the basket.  (Based on the rest of the game I assume all the opposite team members got confused and fell into the bleachers.)  She was all alone and took the shot at the three point line. The buzzer rang while the ball was in the air…

Then.  Nothing.

The line had gone dead.  (The remote was transmitting to me via normal telephone connection…it was the stone age remember.)

I quickly made an announcement: “We’re experiencing technical difficulties, please stand by” and flipped on some music.  …And began to weep as steaming heaps of Michael Bolton oozed out of the speakers.

Meanwhile I tried to reconnect the patch.  No doing.  Apparently the long expected Soviet ICBM attack had hit a girl’s JV basketball game first.  Hmmm…

I settled in to the usual routine of top 40 shit and commercials and waited.

Twenty minutes later I got one call.  ONE.  CALL.  A geriatric voice quavered on the other end of the line.  “Excuse me fella’, what happened at the game.”

I had no idea.  “The line went dead.  I think wolves attacked.”

He took it in stride.  “Well I was just wondering.  I an interested listener you know…”

I thanked him and went back to playing shit and commercials.  I was starting to prefer the commercials.  Then it hit me.  I was running a 50,000 watt station with a viewing area of about 200,000 people.  The system conked at the most exciting possible moment.  And I had only one “interested listener”.  That is when I realized that life is futile and has no meaning.

I never did find out who won the game.  A few weeks later I quit that job and moved to a swamp to take a different job that was demeaning in wholly new and interesting ways.

It is also why I gave Doubluetrouble a 1,000 word explanation as to why my blog header looks different.

About AdaptiveCurmudgeon

Adaptive Curmudgeon is handsome, brave, and wise.

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0 Responses to The Interested Listener

  1. bluesun says:

    I noticed, but I change blog headers like… something that changes a lot. So my sensitivity to such things is tuned way down.

    But I always wondered if DJ’s actually liked the music they listen to over and over. I thought maybe they were all robots with a built in music encyclopedia and a direct line to the weather station for the half-hourly updates.

  2. LeverAction says:

    I did notice but I decided to be polite and not say anything. Your blog, your header – you have your reasons and they’re none of my business unless you want them to be. Thanks for the explanation though. =)

  3. When I found the AD, there was the Ford tractor.
    There was always a Ford tractor; they’re good to talk to.
    Then, there wasn’t. I guess I’m not very polite, so I asked where the hell the tractor was; it seemed a fitting header for the persona of the AD.

    I miss my old 600. I bought a brandy new 4WD unit in ’99, & while it outworks the old 600 in almost every way, it’s just not the same.
    The new one doesn’t have the personality for meaningful discussion…

    • The tractor is not fairing so well. I’m considering the following course of action:

      And yes, I think it’s entirely appropriate to grieve for the loss of a good machine.

      On the other hand I’m taking the block to a machinist next weekend. Machinists, those Gods among men, have the ability to breathe life back into things. Wish me luck!

      • Gus says:

        Whenever you have writ, I find my replies redundant. That said, and as a proud owner of several unfinished things , I wish your machinist luck.

  4. Errr.. change “AD” to “AC”, above.

  5. David H says:

    Oh, you have a few interested listeners. I keep sharing your posts with a friend of mine (I’m convinced you’re his doppelganger). I usually catch you in the rss feed though, so I didn’t even notice the design change.

  6. Wing and a Whim says:

    The phone interface doesn’t show your header, so I didn’t know you changed it. Is the new picture from around the homestead?

    Working retail while being subjected to the radio for 8 hours a day was bad enough; being stuck in a small box for pay borders on a experiment gone awry. I hope the tractor surprises you with a great amount of progress some time soon.

    • It has surprised me. Uh…but not with progress.

      I take solace in the fact that it’s a tractor and they’re hard to kill. Sooner or later it’ll run because I haven’t given up yet. If it was something modern like a Subaru I’d have thrown it off a cliff by now.

  7. Lear says:

    Since discovering your blog I dropped it in my RSS feeder, which sadly means I miss out on hte excitement of header changes unless you point them out.

    I wonder if I can hack my reader to display your header… hmmm…

  8. KA9VSZ says:

    I just read your sports radio adventure out loud to my roomie. I think he peed himself laughing.

  9. Firehand says:

    While back daughter, who first heard Gordon Lightfoot as a kid, told me that in the comments of a video of him performing a 16yoa girl wrote “WHY haven’t I heard of him before?” I think the general answer was “Because the stations playing the stuff they figure you’ll listen to never heard of him. Or don’t like him.

    Always did enjoy his stuff.

  10. Tricia says:

    My mother just sent me a link to one of your posts and now I can’t stop reading! That lizards on a pancake remark sent me into a fit of laughter I haven’t experienced in ages. You sir, are hilarious! My new favorite blogger.

    • Yes! Finally! I put the lizard thing up there and thought it was comedy gold.

      Yet when I read it to a few people they could only respond “you’re weird”. (Suppressing what they really thought which would have been even worse…people are so polite.)

      “That’s the most awesome metaphor ever!” I’d shout. Then I’d run away before I get arrested again.

      I’m so very happy that someone thought it was funny. Whew…I thought I’d skated on thin ice a bit farther than I should. You’ve redeemed me!

  11. Titan Mk6B says:

    I worked at a college radio station for a while. One time we decided to give away recorded cassettes (It was a long time ago) for the third caller or whatever. Nobody ever called. For some reason it didn’t bother us. We were just there to have fun.

    Firehand, thanks for pointing me over here. I am a Gordo fan also.

  12. Pingback: Go Read the Adaptive Curmudgeon | Les Jones

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