Prologue to my memoir, Woke Up Covered in Bitches Again: Observations of an Internet Radio Host, a book you didn’t know you needed, and currently on track to be the hottest selling Christmas present of 2039. Still hoping to get either Craig Ferguson or John C. Dvorak to write the foreword, figuring that ought to boost sales by at least a couple thousand and put me on the ass end of the best-seller chart.
It’s 2:00 AM. Not quite the hour of the wolf, but certainly beyond what most people would call a “reasonable hour.” Bear Hands would have us believe that nothing good will happen, and to most people, the next couple of hours will substantiate their claim. To the night-owls, the functioning alcoholics preparing for last call, and the third shift workers who have to reset the city before it wakes up again in a few hours, this is the hour to come alive. Bob Fass called them a cabal. Sherm Larson called them his night terrors. I just call them my people.
Thirteen stairs separate Studio B from the rest of the world, and I never fail to get excited when I descend from my kitchen down to the makeshift radio and performance studio that is my personal man cave. The lights and sound system are activated by voice control and have different color and brightness settings to match the mood of the evening. We’ll go with red and purple tonight. I pass through the green room, snap a salute to my radio heroes hanging on the wall, and check to see how many people are connected to the webcam and stream. In my head, Johnny Carson’s tonight show theme is usually playing.
Sure, Bob had his cabal, but he probably never attained the diversity of my people. Sure, most are run-of-the-mill insomniacs in Indianapolis, laying in bed, staring at their ceilings. In addition, we also occasionally cater to a couple of British disc jockeys — one is a mad Welshman outside Cardiff; the other, I picture as something like an insane Scottish pirate pining for the salt air high atop a cold, damp tower in Inverness. There’s also a lone fan and his assembly line co-workers in a factory in Ukraine, and on special occasions, a lovely lady who has a radio show in Kuala Lumpur tunes in to steal my best bits, or so I imagine. Sure, most overnight guys have thousands of people hanging on their every word, but on most nights, I can boast 20% engagement from my meager dozens.
I flick a couple of switches to power up the console, thump the mic to make sure the blinky lights come on, and shoot a thumbs-up to the mannequin and suit of armor who serve as my ever-present Ed McMahon and Doc Severinsen — I let them argue over who is whom. Cue the bumper music. Off we go.
Actually, this probably isn’t fair. Before I throw you in the deep end, let’s backtrack a little, and I will fill you in on the pertinent background information so you understand how my brain works.
- My name is Darrin. My middle name was almost “Jesus” (Pronounced: hey-SOOS, after a Mexican army buddy of my Dad’s — the GUY was Mexican, that is. My Dad was, to my knowledge, NEVER in the Mexican army.) They decided at the last minute to go with “Jay” instead.
- I’m a music freak. If I hear a song I like, I immediately go on a quest to acquire everything that band has ever put out; then everything the members of that band have ever worked on separately; then everything friends of the members of the band have ever worked on. Then I just paint myself in camouflage and sneak around musician’s yards hoping to catch a glimpse of them on the potty.
- I am a compulsive workaholic, though not necessarily for the day job. The last time I called in sick to work was in 1992, when I told a temp agency I was too sick to go inventory some restaurant supply company for $5 an hour. I was lying. I’ve never actually been sick enough to miss work in my entire adult life.
- While I’ll listen to just about anything, and switch favorite bands based on my moods, my guilty pleasure is tight-harmony vocalese. This probably comes from my days singing competitive Barber Shop back in Jr. High. The Manhattan Transfer’s Brasil is one of my favorite CD’s. I would never admit this in public, however, as I style myself as a champion for independent, underground music.
- I once met Adrian Belew, but I think I frightened him. I once met George Takei, and he frightened me. As far as I can remember, these are the only two celebrities I’ve met. Either way, it seems when celebrities and I meet, someone pees in their pants … just a little.
- Remember those Neo-Synephrine commercials when we were kids? The ones where they would unscrew the cap, and the bottle would breathe in and out? Those used to freak me out! I almost lost it when I opened my grandfather’s medicine cabinet one time and saw one sitting there. Okay, I was five at the time, but still…
- My best friend is a stuffed Tony the Tiger I got during my first year of life on your planet. He went to college with me. He currently guards the server rack in my basement, along with a Fredbird and an Opus the Penguin. I figure I’ll be buried or cremated with Tony someday.
- I’ve played keyboards in a number of bands, despite the fact that I have horrible stage nerves playing in front of an audience, and studio work bores the piss out of me. I just like jammin’ with my buds. There is a double-LP concept album coming. I’m just too lazy to finish it.
- I have about two dozen websites for fake organizations I’ve started, hidden across the Internet. This is simply so I can make some outrageous claim, have someone call bullshit, and come back with a smug, “no, it’s a real thing, look it up.” Someday I’m going to finish indysnoggers.com. I intended it to be a serious dating site where, after a date, you get to edit the other person’s profile to make it more truthful. It’s like Match.com meets Wikipedia — WikiHarmony. The other catch would be that, if you’re female, my profile would always come up as your most-compatible match on any search.
- I write between 500 and 2000 words a day. Some of it is for professional purposes, some of it is ghostwriting on topics I know nothing about, some of it is random chapters in the middle of novels that currently have no beginning or end. All of it needs a second draft. My new year’s resolution for 2020 was to get off social media and spend more time creating content, particularly these second drafts. Since I didn’t want this to cut into my drinking time, I invested a little money and now carry a portable writing and recording studio in my pockets at all times.
- I’ve been racking my brain for hours trying to figure out Kevin’s metaphor about pancakes and marriages. Okay, if the marriage is a pancake … and the griddle has to be hot first … then which of us is griddle again and should I really be cooking bacon and other breakfast foods while naked?
- I am bored with most sports, but I love baseball. I had a stellar little-league career. Okay, not really. I sucked.
- I was a serial dater for about three years, averaging about 75-100 first dates a year … maybe a dozen second dates … no third dates. I generally can find the deal-breaker within the first 20-30 minutes, which is why I have decided that dying alone is probably the way to go for me. Besides, people my age are really boring.
- My favorite types of music are prog rock and jazz fusion, oh and shoegaze, and bebop, and modern left-coast psychedelic, also lately I’ve really been getting into chillwave, and indie, and I still have a soft spot for metal, oh, forgot I’ve recently been exploring synthpop, of course, there’s nothing wrong with classic rock, or even a good classical piano concerto for that matter, though sometimes I pop in ambient/space or lounge jazz music instead. Basically, I alsways have trouble deciding what I’m in the mood to listen to, so usually, I just put on an old Yes album.
- I’ve always been a big fan of radio, especially live radio with a real personality talking about music. The Internet is really a godsend for that since you can now pretty much listen to any radio station in the world right on your computer. No matter how late it is, there’s always a station somewhere with a live DJ playing tunes and wondering if anybody is listening to him. Unfortunately, sometimes you have to know Russian or use Google Translate in conversation mode in order to understand what he’s saying.
- Follow up: Females with accents, especially Russian/Slovenian accents, are a weird fetish of mine. I think it goes back to Boris and Natasha. My life goal is to retire to the Cayman Islands and become an overnight radio host, married to the local TV weather girl, who just happens to be a former Moldovan supermodel.
- The only food I won’t eat is organ meat. Well, unless it’s deep-fried and dipped in nacho cheese. I would probably eat a truck if you deep fried it and dipped it in nacho cheese. Hang on, braunschweiger is my favorite lunchmeat, so possibly this statement is in error.
- When I was little, I wanted to be an astronomer. For some reason, I abandoned dreams in High School. I wonder if that’s normal. I took a few astronomy classes in college and looked into going back getting a second degree in it last year, but they said since it had been sixteen years since my last math class, I’d probably explode my brain on the physics requirements.
- Seanbaby and Lore Sjoberg are, IMHO, the two funniest guys on the Internet. I feel despair when I witness their verbal and written talents.
- I read a lot of comic books. My collection from the past 35 years is worth enough to buy a very nice car if I ever got the nerve to sell it. I know some of them have artistic and literary value and all, but secretly, I prefer the ones where the spandex-clad good guy beats the tar out of the campy bad guy in a really cool secret fortress somewhere. There’s a childlike simplicity to that.
- Sometimes, I get a little choked up at the end of Star Trek IV … you know, when they … surprise … see the new Enterprise for the first time.
- The low point of my career was, after years of making fun of “Social Media Consultants” and “Professional Ghost Bloggers,” I was finally forced to be one. The only thing lower would be “IT Recruiter.” All of these represent a significant pay cut from my rock star coder days during the dot-com boom, but then again, aside from a brief period in 2011, I haven’t actually had to use my brain in a professional capacity since 2006, and only once have I had an irate manager call me at 2AM with a “business analysis emergency.”
- “Darts” is not a sport, because I’m really good at it.
- I’m sick of terms like “New Media,” “Moblogging,” and “Social Networking.” Mostly because it means pop culture has now latched onto it and given it a buzzworthy label, so I can’t be “cutting-edge” anymore.
- I have reverse seasonal affective disorder: I am happiest and most-productive in Winter, and I get depressed and lethargic in Summer. Snowball fights are fun; sweating sucks.
- My girlfriend doesn’t know what “our song” is. This is only natural since she also doesn’t know we’ve been dating for the past two years in my head.