Sunday, September 07, 2008

My life as a sitcom

How’s this for a “Lucy” moment?

On Saturday I had a busy day planned. The Dodgers were playing a day game and I had to hustle down to the ballpark to prepare for my postgame radio show.

I began grabbing my daily vitamins and gulped them down hurriedly. That’s when I realized – Oh shit! I also took two Advil PM’s – mild sleeping pills.

I barrel down to Dodger Stadium. I figured I had at least a half hour before they would take effect. But just to be safe I kept the windows wide open and played “the Best of Otis Redding” at ghetto blaster levels.

Arrive at the park and head down to the field for the daily Joe Torre managers’ Q & A with the media. A scrum of reporters surround Joe as he sits in the dugout and answers questions. He goes into a lengthy monologue on his philosophy of managing. Really great stuff. Everyone is paying rapt attention – except the guy standing right in front of him. I’m yawning. This does not go unnoticed.

I spot the Dodger trainer and ask him what I should do. First he said, “Read the labels” then suggested I should eat something immediately to help absorb the drug.

Great advice. I hadn’t eaten since last evening. I’ll go up to the press box dining room and wolf down breakfast. Some fruit, and I think those are eggs – I’ll be good as new.

As I step off the field, my broadcast partner Josh stops me. There’s an affiliate luncheon going on. Representatives from all the radio stations that carry Dodger games are assembled in the conference room. We’ve been asked to make an appearance.

Couldn’t we do it next year? Apparently not.

So we trudge up there. It shouldn’t be too bad I tell myself. A brief hello and a beeline to the chow line. Five minutes tops. We arrive and wait while others are still being introduced. I take a chair and the chair feels reeeeeal comfy. Too comfy.

Finally, we’re introduced and asked to say a few words. I get up first – primarily just to keep moving. I forget what I said but it got a big laugh. I hope I didn’t ask if any of them had some spare Benzedrine. Almost home free. A few words from Josh and we were outta there. But then, someone new entered the room.

Tommy Lasorda.

Tommy is a great speaker and he dazzles his audience…for the next HALF HOUR! I feel myself start to momentarily doze off. The only thing that kept me awake was the fear of loudly snoring during his World Series stories.

Eventually, he wraps it up. Josh gives his speech in twelve seconds, and we finally split.

I power down breakfast, drink glass after glass of ice tea. I ask the food service people if they happen to have any Jolt Cola in the back. Alas, they don’t. Nor do they have Red Bull, Mountain Dew, or schnapps.

I go to my seat on press row, starting to feel a little more awake. Then the game begins. The Arizona Diamondback pitcher can’t get the Goddamn ball over the plate. Ball one, ball two, ball three, ball four, ball one, ball two, fouled away, ball three, fouled away, fouled away, ball four, visit from the pitching coach, ball one, ball two, ball three…

Not that baseball is a slam-bam action game anyway but this contest was molasses. I look around and now I see other media members starting to nod off, some from the game, others experiencing the normal food coma after six sausages and seven strips of bacon. I start thinking, what am I going to talk about on my radio show if I nap from innings two through eight?

I decide to gut it out, guzzle ice tea, and wonder if there’s any way to just suck out the caffeine?

Manny Ramirez hits a big three run homer. The crowd goes nuts. That wakes me up a little. Enough.

I’m able to stay awake during my broadcast – something I hope the listeners can do too. Then it’s back home, with Otis Redding blasting so loud you’d think I was a gang member. Since I had dinner plans there was no time for a nap. So I down a Coke, keep my dinner engagement, and practically trip a waiter to get his attention. “Hey, where’s the bread?!”

I make it through dinner. I’m now exhausted. It’s been a long day. I go to bed early. Lay my head on the pillow. Ahhhhhh. And now, finally….

I can’t sleep.

Tomorrow: Something about CHEERS I bet you didn’t know.

25 comments:

Sebastian said...

6am here. Been tired all day after two hours of inline skating. Sun's coming up in roughly an hour and just like yesterday I'll wake up around 10 with bloodshot eyes.

And then I had to make the bad choice of reading something non-boring too...

Now if we only had I love Lucy over here. I guess I saw all the US shows there are from Quincy to Love Boat but that one never made the jump over the big puddle. Took a couple of years before I finally got the reference.

Great story Ken!

Christina said...

I was dogsitting a couple of weeks ago and had a major case of muscle cramps from weight lifting. I looked around my friend's house for Advil, but all I could find was Advil PM. I took 2 of them, not really thinking about their sedative effect. Two hours later, I'm flat on the couch, drooling. Those things are like real sleeping pills. I was worthless the rest of the day. You were way more functional.

charlotte said...

Oh, Ken. Now I feel like I'm talking to my dad: If you ever accidentally take the wrong medication, THROW IT UP IMMEDIATELY! No one will fine you for wasting it. We can always buy more.

TCinLA said...

Have you ever thought of pitching a sitcom about a guy who does this job, using all the craziness you have run across since you first started doing this back in the Mesozoic Era????

I'm not a sports fan, and I would watch a show that had episodes like this in it.

It could be sort of like Arli$$ - you could likely get all the Dodgers and others to do guest spots for you.

I'm telling you, She Who Must Be Obeyed - who really HATES sports, laughed her patootie off at this.

It's a winner!

Mike McCann said...

Ken,

As one who does 3-4 overnight radio shifts a month, the recommended "ace up my sleeve" is dark chocolate (Hershey's Dark or the Trader Joe's 72% bar are both fine) and Rockstar With Coffee (sugared-version not the one w/ aspartame) -- sipped not gulped!

Paul Duca said...

It took a few decades, but it sounds like karma gave you a "Lucy moment" as payback for the Desi Arnaz imitation you did in that 10Q Jock Cups promo.

Anonymous said...

Sebastian:

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=i+love+lucy+episodes&search_type=&aq=0&oq=i+love+lucy

Lizbeth said...

Too bad Everybody Loves Raymond is no longer on the air. I could definitely see this as an episode.

Mary Stella said...

I spot the Dodger trainer and ask him what I should do. First he said, “Read the labels”

Don't you hate it when someone nails a smart ass comment and you're too doped to one up him?

Daws said...

Ken, a question unrelated to your post: Do you think there's a chance that there will ever be a "Frasier" reunion show? I'm sure a lot of fans would like to see "where" the characters are five, six, ten years down the line... And do you think that Frasier married Charlotte?

jbryant said...

I might join a gang if their preferred cruising music was Otis Redding.

benson said...

Is Jolt Cola still being sold?

Back when it first came out, we would squeeze a little fresh lemon juice in it and it would taste like Coca Cola did in the good old days. (we did this in the era when New Coke came out)

VP81955 said...

I make it through dinner. I’m now exhausted. It’s been a long day. I go to bed early. Lay my head on the pillow. Ahhhhhh. And now, finally….

I can’t sleep.

Ken, if only you'd checked with Shelley Long before buying that mattress...

Tom Quigley said...

Ken, my advice to you the next time this happens is: Drink heavily... That way people will at least think it's a legitimate excuse for passing out and not a stupid mistake....

Tallulah Morehead said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tallulah Morehead said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tallulah Morehead said...

"Tom Quigley said...
Ken, my advice to you the next time this happens is: Drink heavily..."

Tom darling, you are a GENIUS! May I take you as my personal guru?

"Not that baseball is a slam-bam action game anyway"

That, my friend, is an understatement on a par with "Nuclear War is unpleasant."

The irony in your hilarious episode of "Ken's Sleepy Day" (Got to be your first baseball-centric posting I not only read all the way through, but laughed at all the way through.) is that watching baseball is what I use IN PLACE of sleeping pills: it's healthier, and EXTREMELY non-addictive.

A perfect farce set-up: a man accidentally takes sleeping pills before leaving for work in the most sleep-inducing environment possible. It's the equivelant to drinking five gallons of water just before stepping out of the tour bus at Niagara Falls. You couldn't write this stuff. (No wait. Yes you could, and in fact, did.)

It's such a relatable accident. I can't tell you how many times the "glass of water" I downed just before doing a take on a major motion picture turned out to be straight vodka. (It's not like they taste any different, so how could I tell?) I was 47 (An age I reached while still offically only 25) before I learned that Quaaludes weren't my One-a-Day multiple vitamins.

Regarding the smart-ass trainer who told you to "Read the labels" - puh-leaze! I can barely make out the lettering on the Hollywood Sign any more (Am I wrong, or did they change it to "Hung Wood" a few years back?), let alone read letting on an Advil box, which is molecular. The correct reply (For the non-drowzy) would have been, "Have you got an electron microscope in your pocket? (Or are you just hung like a quark?)"

There were however, portions of your tale that stretch my credulity. (It's not as resiliant as it used to be. My credulity's elasticity has gone from "snug" to "spongy".) You say that this Joe Torre person launched "into a lengthy monologue on his philosophy of [baseball] managing." and we're supposed to believe that you were the ONLY person yawning? I would think the guy not-yawning would be the one to stand out.

Now about this Thomas Lasorda person telling "his World Series stories," assuming these are still baseball-related, and not his tales of the parallel worlds in the DC Comics Universe; surely it was INTENDED to be a - ah - relaxant in the first place, wasn't it?. What other possible response could such a performance expect besides Universal Naptime? I put my feet up and began drifting off just imagining it.

So after all this, YOU DROVE YOURSELF HOME? Ever heard of a cab? (Sorry. You're a native Angelino. Of course you've never heard of a cab. Ever heard of a limo?) Even Lucy, after delivering her famous Vita-Meata-Vegamin routine, didn't drive herself home. The whole point of your story is that you're too doped up to even watch baseball, and then you drive?

DON'T DO THIS AT HOME BOYS AND GIRLS, KENT LEVINE IS A TRAINED PROFESSIONAL SLEEP DRIVER.

Tcinla darling, how is my adorable Ayesha? Has she had her patootie reattached? You know, I played her twice. In 1935, in Merian C. Cooper's fantasy adventure HER!, and in 1953 for Universal, in ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET SHE WHO MUST BE OBEYED. Critics said I was utterly believable as a woman thousands of years old.

Cheers all. I need a nap.

Tallulah Morehead said...

Kent, I'm serious. Do NOT take sleeping pills and drive. The person you kill might be ME!

That's why The Universe evolved chauffeurs. It's hard to find funny the image of you endangering your own life and those of others.

I mean this. Don't take Advil and then drive. You'll probably even find "Do not operate heavy machinery" (And I've ridden in your gigantic vehicle. It is definitely "Heavy Machinery") right on the box, albeit in somewhat smaller letters than the words "AVIL PM," and you missed those.

The rest of the post is very funny. The drugged driving, not so much.

Mary Stella said...

I can't tell you how many times the "glass of water" I downed just before doing a take on a major motion picture turned out to be straight vodka.

Tallulah, did it help? I knocked back a shot of vodka shortly before getting a tattoo on my foot last week. The tat still hurt, plus my stomach ached from the cheap vodka. What did I expect to be served at a tattoo parlor? Kettle One?

Tallulah Morehead said...

Mary darling,

Vodka ALWAYS helps. Now WHERE did you have your tattoo done? I'm thinking of getting one, just for the free cheap vodka.

Of course, tattooing my rather loose skin could present challenges. My breasts hang so low, I kick them as I walk. I once found one of my ex-husbands hidden in a fold. I had forgotten all about him. We tried to revive him, but we were too late. In fact, according to the pathologist, we were two years too late.

Cheers.

Tom Quigley said...

"Tom darling, you are a GENIUS! May I take you as my personal guru?"

Tallulah Darling, anyone who calls me a genius can take me any way they want me... (I may regret having said that....)

The Minstrel Boy said...

i just now flashed on the classic "lucy" episode where desi had scored tix to a hot hot broadway show that lucy had been bugging him to take her to. she spent the rest of the show in the audience trying to stay awake. . .

i love that one.

Tallulah Morehead said...

"Tom Quigley said...
Tallulah Darling, anyone who calls me a genius can take me any way they want me... (I may regret having said that....)"

Well one of us is going to end up regretting something, and I never regret anything, except for making FU MANCHU'S BLESSED EVENT for MGM in 1933, and marrying Ernest Borgnine for 20 minutes in the early 60s. (Whether "The early 60s" refers to the year or Ernie's age at the time, I no longer recall.)

The thing about Ernie is, if you tell him to "Keep your hands to yourself!" (A phrase I've seldom employed.), he does ... with remarkable enthusiasm.

Mary Stella said...

Vodka ALWAYS helps. Now WHERE did you have your tattoo done? I'm thinking of getting one, just for the free cheap vodka.

A place in Palmetto Bay, FL, that came highly recommended. Of course, one needs to consider the source of tattoo artist recommendations, but the guy who did my ink did a great job.

Of course, tattooing my rather loose skin could present challenges. My breasts hang so low, I kick them as I walk.

This place also does piercings, Tallulah. Perhaps they can tack up your breasts for you. You could make the breast swag look the next big rage.

Tallulah Morehead said...

Thanks Mary,

Piercing is a little too much for me. Penetration is as far as I'm prepared to go.

I used to try tying my breasts in a Granny Knot, but I found it provoked horror. When I dropped by The Playboy Mansion like that once, poor little Hef ran from the room, screaming.

I did, for a period in the 1960s, handle my pre-take face-tightening procedures using a staple gun, however, there was an incident on the set of my Roman epic CALIGULEE CALIGULA when the staples gave way, and the sudden release of my overstressed face knocked Steve Reeves across the studio.

Cheers.