|Natalie Wood -- since I can't find an appropriate photo|
I did none of that when I was a disc jockey. No preparation whatsoever. I always felt that the prepared jocks lacked spontaneity. Their material seemed forced and lame. I always wanted to be in the moment. I always felt that if I couldn’t come up with one funny thing to say when given three minutes (the time of most records) there was something wrong. So I lived on the edge. But I felt extremely comfortable working this way.
I never had a program director scold me for being lazy or unprepared. Sometimes they told me to just shut up because I wasn’t funny, but no one ever accused me of phoning it in.
Once I said a funny line I never wrote it down. A few I have used more than once (always on different stations – I got fired a lot), but most of the time I’d say something and never give it another thought.
I was floored by what I heard.
It’s like I was listening to someone I had never met. I didn’t remember any of the jokes I told. In some cases they were pretty good and I thought to myself, “Wow. Where did that come from?” Full disclosure: there were also some terrible jokes and one-liners of very questionable taste.
But it was very disconcerting to encounter yourself in a younger state and not even recognize that person. I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of memory. What we selectively choose to remember and what we forget (whether we choose to or not). I pride myself on having a very good memory. Lots of it useless. I can tell you artist, titles, and record labels from most records that made the charts from 1959-1979. I remember baseball games and players and plays that stretch back years. I watch a rerun of CHEERS and can remember how late the rewrite night went and who pitched specific jokes. But as I listened to that TenQ broadcast, the “me” I recall from that period was clearly not the “me” coming out of that speaker.
I’m sure a number of you have had essentially the same experience. How many of you kept diaries and journals when you were young and you revisit them now and are appalled.
But if you’re like me, you also miss that person a little. “Beaver Cleaver” was more fearless than I am. He was brimming with passion for what he was doing. He was silly. He was tapped into what was cool.
And yet, a lot of his characteristics wouldn’t fit today. Just as wearing clothes from that period wouldn’t.
Like I said, he was a different person. Looking back, I liked “Beaver Cleaver” and would hope that if he could look into the future he’d like me too. Although I imagine he’d say, “What’s with the fucking Natalie Wood fixation? What are you? Thirteen?”