The Whole in Coffman was hosting the Radio K all request hour. Since I work in Coffman, I stopped down to say hello and apologize for not moving faster on Radio K Bingo (which, honestly, come on people, you all lost interest after the first time). I couldn’t think of anything that I wanted to hear that would be worth looking someone in the face and saying “please play this song.” I’m consistently embarrassed about my musical tastes. I look at what I have been listening to and always ask myself “shouldn’t I be listening to something cooler?” I compare the few gigs of mp3s that I have brought to work with those of uber-hipster Trent and realize that even if I had all of the name bands that he has I still would listen to Laura Veirs all day.
When I got up to Zach’s office (which I also inhabit, like a remora on a merciless shark) I realized that I had not punched in yet. Zach still had to go downstairs to visit the K folks, so I couldn’t prevent myself from returning to the source. I was introduced around a bit and even got to meet Shelly Miller, who was a DJ in a video game of ill repute, as well as one of the friendly voices of REV 105 back when I would listen all day and all night. I didn’t hear a lot of fanfare about it, but when she came to Radio K I felt like the Titans were walking the earth again. I am still weirded out by the way that Radio K seems to have completely turned over its staff since I was last a super fan. When I was a cashier and stockboy at the Speedy Market on Como I would see staffers come in to buy milk. When I did movie reviews I hung out in the news room a bit and visited the DJ Booth and edit room. The long time receptionist at least knew me by face as I scurried about my few duties, always embarrassed because I never felt like I belonged. Movie reviews were a terrible scam, like continually winning the K for free tickets and then picking them up at the station over and over again. I expected someone to pause and look at my backstage pass carefully before announcing “this is from the Cleveland show, man, not fucking cool.”
Zach and I strolled in and I hid behind him as he said his hellos. Eventually I was introduced and I took shameful credit for the bingo. Fortunately, with someone that I knew there I was able to figure out a role to play, so I grabbed the request book (like karaoke that you don’t have to hear other people sing!) and sat down. I really wanted to hear “Valerie” by the Crooked Fingers, because the band is playing the Whole tonight and that was one of the songs Cake Woman used to play over and over again. However, I thought that was too obvious and I didn’t want to be part of any break that included “that was the Crooked Fingers, who incidentally are playing here in the Whole tomorrow,” because that would be way cheesy. I also didn’t want to have them say “oh, we just played that!” It seems that all of my requests are cock blocked by the rules these days — not like when Pam was on the radio and I could call in at 8am to hear any request within two songs.
I finally settled on “Bad Days Indeed” by Firewater, perhaps in honor of the pillar three feet away where I stood while watching Cop Shoot Cop eleven years earlier. I screamed along to every song because I miraculously knew all the lyrics. However, I knew quite clearly that Cop Shoot Cop had been played by King Kwong just a couple of days before, so I didn’t even look for it in the book, falling back on Tod A instead.
Zach took off but I waited for both of our requests. When mine came on I suddenly wished that I were in my car or a NAPA truck, singing along at top volume and jumping up and down in my seat. I wished that I could rewind to those days when seven dollars an hour and unlimited access to Radio K were all that I required to do eight hours of menial tasks. Lifting, carrying, loading, unloading. Mostly I just wanted to get away from all the people unconsciously measuring me and dismissing me. A footnote. A footnote elminated from the most recent editions. Firewater isn’t the same at listenable volumes. In the Entry they miked the brass and it degaussed my brain. I could sing along and dance and cry and be unseen (at least until Melissa wigged out and had to leave two songs from the end). In the Whole there were people studying and hanging out. I couldn’t let myself slip into bleak moods or smile ecstaticly over my favorite music.
After Zach’s request I slipped out of the Whole and back into my usual work character. That guy is a little crazy but hilarious! Everything that he does has an exclamation point at the end! I play that character a lot, since he is widely accepted to be entertaining. Which character do you get to see? Which one would you like to see? Let me know, I’ve got a storeroom full of them in various sizes and levels of hilarity.