Saturday, February 18, 2017

World's Worst Waiter

I'm the world's worst waiter.

Not food server--I'm sort of OK at that, though I've never done it for money.

Waiting for people. Waiting makes me nuts.

I'm on time--somewhat pathologically so. It is my casual observation that no one else on earth is ever, ever, ever on time.

Slight exaggeration, but only slight.

As I write this, it is 12:24. I was supposed to meet someone at "around 11," which to me means, say, anywhere from 11:05 to 11:25. Later than that and you a give the appearance of being an ass. So I got here 11:20-ish thinking even though my friends are virtually always fucking late to everything, at least I wouldn't have long to wait.

*sigh*

Part 2 of this scenario?

We are meeting at Mall of America. For the uninitiated, the Mall of America is...a beast of a place--not for me (I tamed this place a long time ago), but for people who are not here often, to come here on a Saturday, it's a pain in the ass. Anybody who doesn't come here on a regular basis is a tourist. I expect my friends are experiencing said pain in the ass in their efforts to get to me. I choose to believe that over the notion that they simply do not value my time.

I'm just being nice, though. Pretty clear they don't value my time.

Fucking tourists.

Luckily, there are many distractions here. I'm going to eat ice cream and blame them for my ass getting fat. Then I'm going to the Coach store and buy that colorblock bag that I saw that was only $450 and next time we talk I'm going to whine about my credit card bill. Then Nordstoms Rack, for the rest of my paycheck.

That'll teach 'em...

Fucking tourists.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

ISO

I have this friend...we'll call him Bobby.


We'll call him that because that's what he calls himself. 


Real name? No, but who cares?


Bobby is a, "get out and live your life" kind of guy with many hobbies and passions. His defining feature is his willingness to say, "Sure, I'll try that!" to just about anything and sometimes trying a new thing leads to him have a whole new hobby or whole new favorite food or a whole new favorite person that he didn't have a year ago, or even a month ago.


And Bobby posts pictures....lots and lots of pictures. He's excited about stuff, and wants to share. I think that's cool, and I hope he keeps doing it, because it is a reflection of the attitude he has for life, which is the #1 thing I respect about him. He's having fun--more power to him.


1000 years ago (OK...it was actually the late 80's and early 90's. It only seems that long ago...) Bobby and I worked together at a couple of different radio stations in the Midwest. At some point, when we were both working at the same place, someone requested a group photo of the entire staff at the radio station to put on the cover of their weekly magazine. It was an industry publication which consisting entirely of record company ads begging radio music directors to play their new songs, along interviews of radio programmers telling everyone how they get ratings in their particular market. It was real yawn of a thing, unless you were in radio, but we got the cover, so...Woo! We must have been doing something right. 


(Note: I'm a former Top 40 Radio Music Director. We never gave a fuck about those industry mag ads, and most Program Directors read the articles for the sole purpose of saying things like, "That would never work in this market." But I digress...)


Staging the photo was a pain in the ass. Just getting us all in the same place at the same time was a hassle because somebody has to be on the air while this is happening, so...how do you do that? I can't remember, to be honest, but we did it, and there we were, on the cover of some industry mag, looking as cool as you can look when you're a bunch of radio jerk-offs in the 90's.


We all got copies of that magazine to take home. I kept mine for a long time--hauled it from place to place as one does with mementos. I don't think I own it anymore, but...I know Bobby does, or at least I know he has the photo because he posted it online! 


"Look at us in our 90's glory! How delightful! Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! *sigh* Those were the days!"


You know the drill. It's what we do on Throwback Thursday. 


Every. Throwback. Thursday.


Today, I had an idea for a post and thought I would like to use the photo. Why not? It's public domain, stuff, and we were public people. No terrifically embarrassing hairstyles or fashions, for the most part. Sure...why not?


I went to Bobby's Facebook page and began scrolling through his pictures, because I knew it was there, somewhere. It had been a while since he posted it, so I figured there would be a lot of scrolling.


Soon, it became clear to me that it wouldn't just be a *lot* of scrolling, it would be, "this might take all day" level of scrolling. Because Bobby is out there...living!


Posting pictures of living!


More pictures!



We craft our online story boards--those of us who indulge, that is--kind of the same way we craft our real lives. Some of us are very careful, some of us less so. Those of us with a bit of skill for presenting make things look easy and good and nice.


Bobby's photos are generally better than others, even though he's not a photographer. He just knows what goes, so to speak--a knack for selling a thought or idea. As such, this makes it look like he has a terrific life. Pics from fly fishing, pics from skiing, pics from the bar--everything good going on has a photo.


You know what? He *does* have a terrific life--just ask him. It's not without struggle, which he will be the first to admit, but he spends great chunks of his time doing "photo-worthy" stuff.


Now, your version of "photo-worthy" may be quite different from his or mine. You might look at his page and think, "Another fucking fish pic," or mine and think, "What's with all these sunsets and liquor bottles?" 


You might also think, "Why post photos of *anything* online?


I say, if it brings you joy, share it. Your joy may give someone else joy, and we could all use more of that. I wanna see you happy. If pulling a damn fish out if the water makes you smile, please know that your smile will make me smile. If your pet makes you laugh, it will make somebody else laugh. Wrote a song? Paint a picture? Knit a sock? March on Washington? Let's see it. Invite the "likes". Don't *obsess* over the likes--this isn't an episode of Black Mirror--but put it out there.


Here's the key: You have to *do* the stuff to get the photos. You have to travel to get travel photos. You have to go out with friends to get those pics of you all yucking it up at the bar. You have to get down to your dog's level to get a good photo of your dog. You have to engage in your thing to get photos of the thing, and that is where Bobby has this whole social media game licked--he's out there, living. He's not just talking about it, he's doing it. You want to up your social media game? Up your *life* game and the rest will follow.



BTW, I never did find that pic, but here's one from that era, of my roommate. She sold advertising at the station, and she is pictured here with Man In Zoobas (Josh, one of our other announcers), hanging at the park at a promotion we were doing. 

Later that day, my roommate and I would probably use that same aluminum soda can as a pipe. We were young professionals, acting mostly like high school kids. Radio was great for that. Bad habits indulged. Sexy times, even though Zoobas were in existence.




OK, just kidding about not finding the pic.

Bobby found it. It took him a while to find it, too, what with all his pictures. I'm the one who is all "Sunglasses on a cloudy day because I'm Shelly-Fucking-Carr."

Probably nothing to do with the soda can pot pipe hobby. Probably.

(Side note: Nice to see the engineer in the photo--he kept that place on the air with wire hangers, duct tape and faith. All of those people were so nice. I still have the jacket!)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Real Women Are Funny. And A Lot Of Other Things, Too.

I'm a writer


I'm a humorist.


I'm a girl.


Because these things are true, the importance of someone like Mary Tyler Moore in my life cannot be overstated.


She didn't plan to become an icon, but lucky for me and many others, she did.  This allowed her to be present for many important years of our lives: times when we were learning what it meant to be a girl; times when we were wondering if it was OK to be funny while being female; times when we were worried about being single; or times when we were wondering if we could do all of this and somehow maintain our dignity. What about when we needed a role model to see when it was OK to *not* be dignified? Yeah, she was there for that, too.


My favorite memory when I think of Mary Tyler Moore is a time when I was watching an awards show telecast in Nineteen-seventy...I dunno. Television hey-day, if you will.  She was up for an award and Carol Burnett was nominated in the same category. They announced a tie. Carol was announced as a winner, gave a short thank you and then opened the envelope to see who the other person was. 


It was Mary.


Carol Burnett looked up from that envelope and just said "Mare," as she looked down into the audience and gestured for Mary Tyler Moore to come up and get her award. That's what she called her, and that's all she even needed to say--everybody knew who she was talking about and knew that where went Carol, there was Mary. Perhaps they competed, but at the same time, she were joined, supportive, and appreciative of each other. It was all in good fun.


Together, they taught me a lot about the importance of supporting other women, and, by extension, anyone out there doing something that someone in their demographic doesn't normally try to tackle. In a world where Mary Tyler Moore was criticized and censored for wearing pants instead of a skirt on a TV show, she managed to still be smart, funny, and modern. Working within pre-set boundaries of a male dominated business, she excelled.


This is what I grew up to.


When she became Mary Richards on TV, she went from being a TV wife to a woman making it on her own.  There was no divorce story line, no, "her husband died, so here she is all by herself." She was single, but it wasn't presented as some tragedy. It was so freeing and refreshing. There were story lines with men in them, but the real meat of the show was not her as a spouse or girlfriend, but her as a career person with her friends and her co-workers. They didn't criticize the idea of having a spouse or boyfriend, it was just secondary to having her own life as she chose to live it.


By the time I was in my own broadcasting career, it was well established that women did not require a male counterpart to be OK in this world, and part of that was due to Mary having the courage to do that on TV. Funny, intelligent women paved the way, and allowed me to push boundaries of my own. It's a debt I can never repay.


Tonight, I'll lift a glass to that woman, and all the women she helped by being her. Our female icons are perhaps more important now than ever--great examples of what we can do if we roll up our sleeves and work intelligently within our own situations, however limiting they may seem.


Safe travels, MTM, and thank you.