Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Don't Do Something You Like, Do Something OTHERS Like

My work hours are 4:30a-12p. Some call that brutal. I think it's perfect. No rush hours to deal with, and my afternoons are free for whatever appointments come up. Or I can do something as simple as going out for a drink.

Last Friday was the 1st round (screw the play-in games) of the NCAA Basketball Tournament, so with the rare chance of seeing some live sports that actually mattered during lunch time, I found myself at a place stumbling distance from my house (just in case I was over-served). Surprisingly, I was the only customer. Being the only customer in a bar can be like being the only shopper in a high class boutique. The employee won't leave you alone. Back when I was tending bar, my boss always told me "when they come in alone, they want to be left alone. Serve 'em and shut up".  If only today's over the counter retail beverage consultants heeded such words.

The bartender was James, and since the tourney was on we started talking hoops, brackets and general March Madness- related topics. Then he hits me with the biggie, something I never have a good answer for:

"So what do you do?"

I really need some sort of "employment rolodex" in my head, where I can make up a phantom job on the fly. I just can't come up with one that, if he starts asking followup questions, I'll be able to talk my way through. It has to be something dull, but not interestingly so. Any suggestions would be helpful. I decided to answer honestly and told him that I worked for a group of radio stations. He didn't ask the normal next set of questions, (What station? Have you ever met Jack White? Can you get me free tickets?) instead choosing to swing for the fences,

"Why does radio suck so much?"

Even those who aren't in the business know that radio sucks. It sucks today, it'll suck tomorrow, and the long range forecast is Mostly Sucky. Radio used to be cool. I got in when it was still cool to say you worked in radio, not before it became the entertainment world's equivalent of gum on a shoe. What I've witnessed over the last 20 years has been Exhibit A for how to run not just a business, but an entire industry into the ground. Ah, it's been a blast

Why does it suck? Stay tuned. Trust me, it'll still suck by the next post.

Monday, March 18, 2013

What Follows Is Extremely Corny

Its been 3 weeks since Maverick died. I no longer cry like a little girl, but I'm prone to welling up at a moment's notice. Fine if alone, but not if I'm in the testosterone-laden cesspool known as Gold's Gym. I'm able to spend more time in the house by myself, and the pictures and videos I watch bring more smiles than sadness.

Almost lost in the grief of losing my dog was good news shared by mom the day after Mav's passing. Mom had battled cancer (courageously, of course) for 6 years. Breast, thyroid, and lymph node. On the day after Maverick died I was talking with mom and she shared the news that the doctors had pronounced her cancer-free. She knocked out all 3, something the doctors honestly didn't expect from someone mom's age. I was happy to hear it, of course, but my sadness about Maverick kept the happiness tempered. I'd been hoping for this day for 6 years, and when it came I think I said something stupid like "Sweet!". I was still in a fog.

Ok, here's the corny part:  I have this picture in my head. Maverick arrives in heaven. Sure he's a little confused (his 4th leg is back!), but they do the best to make him comfortable. He has his entry interview and is asked if he has any concerns.

"I don't have any concerns about myself, but my daddy's really sad right now. Can you do something to cheer him up?"

"I don't know, Maverick", replied the gatekeeper,  "We get a lot of requests up here."

"Yeah, I know, but aren't those usually prayers from below? I know Mom said she prayed every night for me. Still does. I'd think once we get here we wouldn't need to ask for anything"

The gatekeeper gave thought to Maverick's argument. "You make a good point. What did you have in mind?

"Well, daddy's mom- my gramma- has been really sick. Can you make her get better?"

"I'll see what I can do", said the gatekeeper. "We get thousands of requests a day"

With that, Mav boarded the Jeep to take him to the Boneyard, to play and fetch and eat and sleep. He didn't have the people he loved by his side, but he at least tried to make sure that our sadness could be eased if for a little while by some uplifting news. And then I got the call the next day. The cancer was gone, and to celebrate, my parents are coming to Vegas.

The subject line warned you of corniness ahead, and if you've come this far, I don't think you hated it. Without a bit of corniness, the realities of life (and death) are overwhelming. I'd like to think that even though he'll no longer lay at my feet, he'll be looking out for his daddy as much as his daddy looked out for him.