Thursday, March 29, 2012

Advice to fellow neurotics

Do you always get sick just before a big exam? Or big performance? Or big game? Your problem might not be physical.  Take comfort.  You could just be a neurotic mess.  Your ailments could be psychosomatic.

It has happened to me.

Going back to my erstwhile radio career as a screaming top 40 disc jockey in the ‘70s, I would always get sick just as a new rating period was about to begin. Back then I was toiling in medium and small markets and ratings were only taken a few times a year. People would fill out diaries and send them in. Results arrived a few months later and since there were so few rating periods, each one packed a wallop. One bad ratings “book” and you were generally gone. Stations changed formats, people were fired, and it’s not like you were Whitney Cummings – there was no NBC to give you eighth and ninth chances.

So the pressure was on.

And I got a horrendous cold every time a ratings period started. Not that I sound great anyway, but with a cold I was Elmer Fudd. It’s hard to scream over Osmond records when you’re underwater. What came out of the radio was me at my worst.

This must’ve happened on four or five occasions.

And then one time when I was spinning the hits on KMEN, San Bernardino (and ALL of the magnificent Inland Empire), I got my usual cold and decided out of desperation to just have some fun with it. I copped to the fact that I was sick, sneezed, and blew my nose right on the air. I asked listeners to call in with cold remedies. It turned into a very funny show. One listener brought me chicken soup. Another arrived with blankets. And the best was I now had a way of dealing with my psychosomatic condition. I no longer worried about getting sick. In fact, I looked forward to it. I now had one of my better sure-fire bits. So bring it on!

I never caught another cold before a ratings period.

Better health can be yours… by fooling yourself.

(One final note: Notice I didn’t end this story by saying… “and I never got fired again!”?)

This is the final day of the free offer.  The Kindle version of my travelogue book WHERE THE HELL AM I? TRIPS I HAVE SURVIVED is FREE for the downloading.  But only until midnight.  What have you got to lose?   Here's where you go.   Thanks. 


Nancy said...

I don't get sick before something big but I do manage to get a tickle in my throat followed by uncontrollable coughing when it's quiet. Church - 1967 - my first communion. I will never forget it. Watering eyes from trying to NOT COUGH, everyone looking at me! Now I make sure always to have hard candy, altoid, tictac - anything! - to help get rid of the tickle.
Thank You for the free book link! I'm looking forward to reading it. I love your blog.

Howard Hoffman said...

I had a general manager who developold giant cold sores around his mouth every time a rating period began. Seriously, he looked like he was bobbing for apples in a deep fat fryer. Maybe if we actually said that to his ahem, face, they'd stop.

Tom Quigley said...

KMEN -- sounds like great call letters for a Christian radio station (Kay-men). Their slogan could be "...For Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory. KMEN."

RCP said...

Funny. Though not a big drinker, I did handle one stressful situation (reading a short story in public) by downing a few screwdrivers. My friends said I was calm, but the drawback is that I don't remember any of it (except whatever applause there was, of course).

Unknown said...

I have a nervous stomach during exams. Can't eat or Montezuma is going to get me.

So I usually don't eat breakfast when those days come up and only eat a snickers bar or something similar when I get woozy.

Hey it's better than running out during the exam. Literally.

(one of the wv words was "ISpoop", believe it or not)

YEKIMI said...

I think every station that I worked at [except one] blew all the DJs out of the water BEFORE the ratings came out because they were that sure we'd be at the bottom of the list!