Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The More They Stay The Same

I was standing around at the Cabooze last night, with a group of radio cronies. They weren't "my" radio cronies--they actually belonged to my buddy, Greg.

Of course, since Greg and I have known each other for 852 years, we do have some mutual cronies.

The funny thing is, I've been out of the business for 9 years, and, everybody was still bitching about the same stuff they were bitching about 10 years ago, only, now we're all in Minneapolis, better dressed and driving nicer cars.

Different, but, still the same.

At one point, Greg introduced me to someone that I sort of already knew (We talked on the phone a couple of times--he had offered me a job years ago and I turned him down. Hmmm...), and as soon as the guy heard my name he rattled off half of my resume off the top of his head. I'd say it was weird, but, that's really the way a lot of people are in radio--it is a small community, so you tend to know what everybody is doing. If you liked them, you remember their radio history. It was a nice compliment that he remembered mine.

Somebody asked me if I missed it, and I had to admit that I did. It is a fun way to earn a living. My reasons for leaving it were complicated--I had gotten married to someone who was also in the business, and in the town where we lived, they really didn't want married people working at the same place, and definitely didn't want you working at competing places, so, since he made three times the money I would have made, I was the one who got out of it. In retrospect, I think that I wouldn't necessarily have had to do that--I could have just said, "Screw you" and done whatever the hell I wanted, but, it was important to my husband at the time, and he didn't want to have that pressure, so, I chose the path of least resistance.

As much as I try not to live with regret, I do regret that particular decision because I feel that it dramatically changed the path I was on in my life. I had started in radio long before I even met my husband, and, before HE started in the business as well. I had more of it under my belt. I had a history that other people in the business admired, enough to rattle it off from the top of their heads. I can say that radio really meant independence to me, in many unspoken ways--even when there was no money in it, or when I wanted to literally strangle a co-worker here and there. I don't like the fact that I just walked away from it for some guy. Just thinking about it makes me want to cry--I mean...I'm no longer even WITH my husband, after all. What the hell was I thinking?

But, I do have a history of just giving myself away any time somebody asks, so, it doesn't surprise me that I did. And there isn't really much to do about it now--just gotta get up, do the work, raise fabulous daughters and not wallow or whine. Life is still good, and there is much to be thankful for.

It was ironic, I suppose, that the reason we were at the Cabooze last night was to see Darius Rucker. Darius, of course, was a singer in a band called Hootie and the Blowfish, who sold eleventy kajillion albums and made a bunch of videos featuring their favorite football player... :-). Darious is doing something slightly different these days--playing country music, under his own name, with a whole new set of musicians backing him. What struck me about him, though, was that his approach to his work is in no way less passionate than it was when he was singing in a pop act. Because of this, he can sing whatever the hell kind of music he wants to--no matter what it is, he does it with the same vigor. He gives country music the same kind of love and attention he gave all those pop songs, making it impossible to be denied: He's just a damn talented man.

Still, there have been a lot of comments about Darius, who played arenas with Hootie, now playing for a few hundred people in a bar on a Tuesday. It is looked upon as a lesser thing. I challenge that negativity, however. Here is a guy doing what he wants to do, and what makes him happy. Who cares if it's for four hundred people or four thousand? Does it even matter? Besides, the cream rises to the top, people. He has a number one album and single this morning, and, this is territory with which he is very, very familiar.

Different, but still the same.

And, so am I. I still approach work the same way I did ten years ago, even though I have a completely different career. I'm still driven to do the best job possible. I have the admiration of the people in my business--I get promotions and raises and such, just like I always have. None of this has changed, at all. In fact, the more things change...

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