In my current full-time job, sometimes you get called off because patients cancel their appointments. This can really suck, especially when you’ve slept all day in preparation to work all night long. At any rate, on nights off, I usually read or write. I had a bout of writer’s block and so I went to my Facebook friends and asked for questions they’d like answered. They never fail to ask questions that force me to think, dig deep in my memory, or get creative.
Question #1 – Denise
Denise’s question is radio related. “On average, how many of the songs you spin (love that she is speaking DJ here!) take you back to an exact moment in your memories and is there one particular song you avoid playing for that exact reason?”
ANSWER: One of the things I love about music is that there are many songs that so exactly what you state in your question – “take you back to an exact moment”. With the station I work on today, I would guess that 2-4 songs a show can do that. If I were at a different format (like classic rock, country, or oldies) it would be more. We play a lot of current songs where I am now, with a sprinkling of 80’s and 90’s. The older songs can certainly do that, for example, a song from 1999 or Little Red Corvette by Prince can take me back to a high school dance.
I did country radio for almost half of my radio career, so there are plenty of songs that I can remember hearing for the first time. I was the music director and had a hand in helping the program director pick the songs to play on the air. My job was to listen to every new song that an artist put out. It was exciting to hear a song and get a gut feeling about whether it would be a hit or not. Sometimes I was right, sometimes I was wrong. I would think many of those songs I can remember hearing them for the first time while sitting in my office.
Now regarding the second half of your question, all stations have a play list. Sometimes, you have the freedom to play requests, but usually, you are playing from the list of songs that was scheduled for you on your shift. That being said, there is one song that I have to turn down the volume when it plays – Daniel Powter’s Bad Day.
That was the song that was the ring tone on my mom’s cell phone in the last few month’s of her life. I guess she used it as an anthem. She battled breast cancer for 10 years. She’d been through it all – chemotherapy, radiation, and countless painful procedures and tests. She had good days and bad days – more bad than good. She would still keep that positive attitude and often say “Don’t sweat the small stuff”, but cancer isn’t small stuff. She related to that song. “You had a bad day”… but she kept fighting. She was one of the bravest and strongest women I have ever known. I have to turn down the speakers, because when I hear it – I hear mom’s phone…
Question #2 – Marcia
Marcia and I have known each other since elementary school. Our mom’s knew each other and it is no surprise that her question is about my mom. “What’s your favorite memory of your mom?”
This is really a difficult question. Maybe for some people they could pick just one, but for me, there are so many special moments. I could mention the many nights that she stayed up with what my dad called “The Warren Boys Club” and played pinochle until all hours of the night or how she used to stay up late on Saturday nights watching terrible Kung Fu movies on Channel 20. I could also mention her falling asleep in the waiting room at the hospital as she waited for Dante’ to be born, a moment that is caught forever on film. Instead, I have narrowed it down to three.
These three memories, in no particular order, are definitely in the top ten memories of mom. To answer your question, I allowed myself to jot down three memories and stopped there. Perhaps there are others that just weren’t lucky enough to pop into my head on command, but these three did immediately, so they appear as the answer to your question.
Mom memory #1 – I was 20, soon to be 21, when I moved to Ludington for a radio job. I had ever been away from home before. It was scary and yet my folks were supportive of the move. Mom was pretty strong, even though I think it bugged her more than she let on. After the first week, I think she missed me more than she wanted to tell me. She used to send me a letter or a card a week. It was usually something silly just to say she was thinking about me and that she loved me.
I remember the first night I was there. I had a small apartment and every single noise kept me awake. I remember the second day I was there, she called to ask how I was. As much as I tried to keep it together, I couldn’t. She listened to my cry and told me she was proud of me and that everything was going to be ok. I remember coming home from the radio station at night and having messages on the answering machine from her. What I wouldn’t give to have those letters and cards (ruined in a flooded basement) or the answering machine tape!
Mom memory #2 – Dante’ was 4 and loved trains. He watched Thomas the Train all the time. When mom found out that Thomas was coming near my house, she bought tickets for all of us. This was probably in August, so it was two months before she passed away. She was sometimes using a walker or a wheel chair to get around, but she was not going to let anything stop her from going for a ride with Thomas and Dante’! As tired as she was, she sat next to him and sang the Thomas theme with him. The day was captured in some of my favorite pictures, and even though the day is foggy for Dante’ today, he still looks at those pictures and remembers grandma.
Mom memory #3 – One year after mom passed away, my brother came home. We were all going to go to the cemetery on the anniversary. While at my dad’s house, I believe it was Chris who found a stack of envelopes. Each envelope was addressed to members of the family. They were letters that mom had wrote to each of us. The letter to written long before Dante’ was born, so he wasn’t mentioned in it. There was, however, a wonderful message from mom to me. “Know that I love you” was the first line written to me. It was a wonderful message from beyond the grave, that I still have locked away, so that I can read it whenever I need to.
Question #3 (in two parts) – Stephanie
Leave it to my friend Stephanie to give me a serious and silly question. (1) “What comedy or drama movie would you make into a musical and what would be the name?” and (2) “What is something you recently realized that you can’t believe you didn’t realize earlier?”
Part 1 – As I thought about some of my favorite movies, I laughed at the possibility of them being made into a musical. As you know Young Frankenstein was made into a musical, and so was Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The Blues Brothers already is considered a musical, so I started to look at a few others.
Smokey and the Bandit would be hard to make into a musical. However, I think it would be fun to have Buford T Justice sing “Sum Bitch” in a song! Airplane! is a comedy classic, but how do you make this into a musical. Animal House might be one you could do as a musical – I could see Flounder singing about Bluto giving him that name or Dean Wormer singing a rant about Double Secret Probation. I guess if I had to pick one, it would be Johnny Dangerously…because the name of the show would be easy: Johnny Dangerously: The Fargin’ Musical!
Part 2 – I have an answer to this question that is kind of obvious, but because I am a bigger person, I will not use that answer. What I will answer is this: I realize now, just how fake some people can be. It is sad to see how people are quick to judge you on the thoughts or stories of others. They make their judgments based on those things without ever coming to you to see if they are true or hear your side of the story. It is sad that so many people will pretend to be your friend and then as soon as you leave the room, begin to talk about you, label you and judge you.
I realize now that there are some people who are not happy unless they are making others unhappy. I realize now that there are people who feel the need to be in control of every situation, no matter what, and have to get their way. They will say things to make you believe things that will work in their favor, even if it means alienating you from friends and family.
The biggest realization I have had recently is that before you can make others happy – YOU have to be happy. It is not worth living a life to make others happy while you, yourself, continue a downward spiral into sadness, unhappiness, and depression. You must weed out negative people in your life and live happily and positively! You should be happy in your job, happy in your relationships, and happy with yourself. The hardest, and best, decision I ever made was to find happiness and surround myself with it.
Question #4 – Connie
Connie asks another question that is difficult to answer. Connie and I often spoke of Stanley nickels and Schrute Bucks in the office, and now she asks “What is your favorite episode of The Office?”
While there are MANY episodes that continue to make me laugh out loud, it is hard to pick just one. At the same time, some episodes consist of brief moments that make me laugh like hell, but the rest of the episode isn’t as strong.
If I had to name a few episodes off the top of my head, I would start with Diversity Day. We truly get a sense of Michael Scott and just how awkward he is in this episode. The uncomfortable situations that he often creates really start to show with this episode. Next I would say The Deposition. Classic Michael/Jan tension. The Dinner Party is also a great episode – the awkward relationship that Michael and Jan have is showcased here (snip snap snip snap!).
The Dundies is just a great episode! The thought of an office party – well, an awards show – and Chili’s while real customers are trying to eat is hilarious. So many great things about this episode. Threat Level Midnight is another one I liked because it showcased some cast members who hadn’t been on the show for a while, and it shows you the incredibly bad movie Michael wrote.
Scenes I could watch over and over and over:
- Michael screaming “No” over and over when Toby returns
- Jim’s spot on impression of Dwight – Bears, Beats, Battlestar Galactica
- Kevin’s famous chili
- The Fire Drill scene (“save Bandit!”)
Question #5 – Hope
Hope and I talk music a lot. She’s a Beatle fan and played trumpet in band. It is no surprise that her question is musical. “Are there specific songs that remind you of your childhood? If so, which ones and why?”
Absolutely! Growing up, my dad played in a wedding band, so I heard him play a lot of songs and was exposed to a lot of genres of music. One of the first songs I remember was “Dream Baby” by Roy Orbison. My dad had it on a vinyl LP and I asked him to play it all the time.
My friend, Jeff, had this album of novelty songs called “Dumb Ditties”. Every one of those songs cracks makes me think of when we were kids listening to it. Dumb songs like “I’m a Nut”, “Gimme Dat Ding”, “Ahab The Arab”, “Purple People Eater” and “Charlie Brown” were on it as I remember.
Anything of Willie Nelson’s Stardust album and Johnny Paycheck’s Greatest Hits (Volume 2) makes me think of summers at my grandparent’s trailer up in Caseville. There is a blog I wrote about an old 8 track that is full of songs that remind me of road trips to Caseville, too.
I remember many songs from 1988 and my senior year of high school – Wild Wild West by Escape Club, Don’t Worry Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin, and Bad Medicine by Bon Jovi Come to mind. I remember buying Huey Lewis and the News Sports album for I Wanna New Drug. Never Gonna Give You Up by Rick Astley, Need You Tonight by INXS, Rock Steady by the Whispers, and The Final Countdown by Europe were all songs I remember from high school dances.
I remember the first slow dance I ever danced to was Crazy for You by Madonna. I remember wondering if I was doing it right. I mean, I was literally swaying back and forth. “Is this right?!” We used to go to dances and just stand around and BS. When I was asked to dance, I really had NO idea what I was doing!
Question #6 – Joe
Joe and I have been friends since Jr. High. We met in first hour band class. His question is “How well do you remember that day we all met in junior high in the band room?”
I don’t recall much. It was the first day of junior high and I remember being scared to death. I remember Steve, Kevin, John, and Joe. Yes, there were others, but those are the ones I remember from the beginning. As far as the first day, I don’t recall much. I remember getting chair assignments and lockers, but that’s about it. The first day wasn’t the “…wanna be friends?” day, was it? Your memory may be better than mine, so please feel free to fill in the gaps.
This is the second blog that I have written based on the questions that friends have asked me. It’s actually something I really enjoy. Thanks to those friends who served as the “thought starters” for this blog. I hope I answered your questions and you enjoyed reading this as much as I did thinking about the answers and writing them.