Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I Got Your Crazy

I was sharing some Crazy People stories with Vikki, and this one came up...its one of my all-time favorite examples of Crazy, so...let's tell!

We call this story...You Gotta Be Doin' A Better Job

We'll hop in the Way-Back Machine and go all the way back to the Late 1980's. Back when I was working at a Top 40 radio station. Back when John Mellencamp's Lonesome Jubilee came out, and I listened to it relentlessly.

Back when This Guy had This Much hair. (Personally, I barely recall, but Barb swears she remembers the hair. She's always eye-balling the drummer. He looks so much better now! And for those of you crying about how I never post old pictures of myself but always seem to pick on everybody else, I will now remind you of this post, from last year...)

For me, it was definitely a Must. See. Mellencamp. kind of time (still is, actually...). Lo and behold, there was a tour. And my boss had tickets.

But, because I worked in radio, I wasn't given the option of an uncomplicated Go See Mellencamp kind of evening.

No....oh no. Not that...

Because I worked in radio, I was asked to escort about 40 listeners to Go See Mellencamp. I would say that it was a glorified babysitter kind of responsibility, but its actually more like a Cruise Director thing. Everyone is half drunk (or, all the way drunk), and basically you just have to make sure that they get there, that they don't die or kill anyone while they are at the concert (arrested? You're on your own), and then make sure that they get back. Meanwhile, I had to act like I was Somebody because those 40 drunk people were promised that Somebody was going to host that party. Yeah, yeah...I can fake if for a few hours.

It wasn't as blisteringly painful as having to escort a fan backstage to meet anybody, so, OK, I'll do it!

Besides....I REEEEEAAAALLY wanted to see Mellencamp. Really-really. I probably would have endured a lot more than Cruise Directorship to get my ass in the door that night. Wrangling 40 people was no big deal.

We met up to load the bus, and all my little charges were accounted for. We counted every breathing body on that bus 6 or 7 times. Then we counted the concert tickets, 10-12 times. 40 people. 40 tickets. 40 people. 40 tickets. Got it. Good. We're off!

The drive itself was actually a lot of fun. In addition to the listeners, my best friend was on the bus with me, and if you're going to hang out in a crowd, I must recommend, once again, taking Barb with you, cuz the girl has ice-breaking down to a science. I mean, I'm no slouch, but, she's got it DOWN. In addition to Barb, we were joined by a rep from the company who sold the radio station the tickets and arranged the bus for the night. I don't remember his name, but for the sake of calling him something, we'll say it was "Chuck". He was a pretty cool guy, and between Barb, Chuck and me, the whole group was laughing and talking for the entire trip.

Since I personally counted every body and every ticket 50 or 60 times and earned the title "Total Freak About The Tickets", I felt confident that when we arrived at the venue, all we had to do was put one ticket in each person's hand as they exited the bus, and they would all enjoy an incredible show and hopefully they would stay out of my hair for the rest of the night.

Hmmm could that have possibly gone wrong?

We arrived, and Chuck handed me the envelope with the tickets, then took off to check on something, so, I once again, counted people, and counted tickets.

Only now, its wasn't 40 People, 40 Tickets.

Now it was 40 people, 38 tickets.

Uh....What? I got the sinking feeling that I had just escorted 40 people on a stupid bus ride for nothing, because Cruise Directors get their tickets AFTER everybody else has theirs, so, if there were tickets missing, I would be the one not attending. Clearly unacceptable! Hey, its hard work pretending you're Somebody for three solid hours! A girl needs her reward!

We went looking for our man, Chuck.

When we found him, he was in the middle of negotiating with some nice people on the sidewalk, a very substantial price for two 10th row Mellencamp tickets.

Ahem....What The Fuck, Chuck?

Confronted, he claimed that the tickets he was selling were "extra" tickets, and that we had all the tickets we would ever need, right there in our little envelope. We didn't, but, I suppose Chuck figured that explanation was worth a try.

The funny thing is, if Chuck has just sold the tickets for face value (probably about 25 bucks apiece back then), he could have had the cash in pocket, and the buyers would have been long gone before we ever found them there on the sidewalk. Unfortunately, he was asking about ten times that amount, and these things take time. The potential buyers were still hemming and hawing on the deal when we showed up to ruin Chuck's night. When they heard what we had to say, they backed out of the deal, and we were left to take care of Chuck, who immediately started back-peddling, beginning with these words:

"You guys gotta be doin' a better job! You gotta PAY ATTENTION to this shit!"

He proceeded to tell us how his swiping tickets and trying to sell them was all our fault, and we should have known better and we should have kept a better eye on him. He took it upon himself to scold us for losing track of the tickets that he stole!



I can't remember how we dealt with Chuck--I seem to recall that he got fired, but, like I said, that was 20 years ago, so, what the hell do I know? I can't even remember the guy's actual name! But I will never forget "You gotta be doin' a better job!". He kept repeating it over and over. It was the funniest damn thing I heard during the entire decade of the 80's. In fact, to this very day, 20 years later, Barb and I STILL say that to each other, all the time. We don't even need an occasion--just, every once in a while...

"You gotta be doin' a better job!"

Burning dinner? "You gotta be doin' a better job!"
Drop the phone? "You gotta be doin' a better job!"
Drip hot chocolate on your shirt? "You gotta be doin' a better job!"

I works so well with every dumb thing you do, right? And its especially fun to say it when the person is doing just fine.

Some dumb co-worker being a total jerk? Well, then YOU gotta be doin' a better job!

As you can see, the possibilities are endless.

By the way? Amaaaaaaaazing Show! Well worth the stupidity....


  1. hmmmm - trying to decide if you were working at a station here in the cities or somewhere else......trying to decide if I was one of your listeners who didn't get Mellencamp tickets...and trying to decide if I should sulk a little bit ;)

  2. So, tell me about John Mellencamp, Ms. I Must Marry A Man With A Guitar...hehehe...did you have pictures of him all over your walls? The world wants to know!


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