Overnight Overload

Friday June 22nd, 2012 – Rockford, IL

   If there was a tiny shred of doubt left before, it’s gone now. I am officially old. I had to pull an all nighter last night into this morning and it just about killed me. Gone forever is the bullet proof vest of youth, humbly replaced by a knitted sweater that doesn’t fit correctly. It happens to us all.

I was asked earlier this week if I could do a morning radio fill in shift on WNTA in Rockford, IL this morning and I said yes. Then, I was asked to attend the Bootsy Collins show at the Cubby Bear in Chicago and I said yes to that too. I’m going to have to watch my schedule a little better.

I assumed that Bootsy would go on at 8pm, maybe 9 at the latest. If he played for two hours, it would be over by 11 and I could drive out to Rockford and sleep on the couch at the station for a few hours and then crash after the radio show. I’ve done it like that off and on for twenty years.

I would often do a comedy show at night, stay up and prepare for my radio show, then go home and sleep all day like a vampire. I would sometimes do that several times in a week if I needed to and not think twice about it. Well, today I thought twice. I don’t think I can handle this anymore.

As it turned out, Bootsy didn’t go on until 10:30 and played for two hours. I hadn’t planned on having to drive Pedro Bell back to the far south side of Chicago, and after the show I was invited out to get something to eat with Pedro and his business manager Aki Antonia. I couldn’t say no.

By the time I dropped Pedro off, I knew I was in the trick bag. I was really tired, but had to get to Rockford by 5am. It turned into an unexpected cross country Grand Prix, and I was pushing it to the limit in my little Chevy Cavalier cranking it up to 92 miles an hour at times. That’s stupid on so many levels, but I needed to get there because I promised I would. It was agonizing stress.

If I say I’m going to do something, I really do try my best to do what I say. I believe that a deal is a deal, and it doesn’t matter if I’m the one inconvenienced. I could have said no to either of the two commitments I made, but I didn’t. Next time though, I’m going to think about it a lot more.

I ended up getting to the station about 5:15. Since it’s a talk format, I don’t know what they did to fill the time, but they were in a commercial break when I got there and didn’t ask. I apologized profusely to the producer and news guy, but they weren’t angry at all. Still, I felt like a total ass.

I didn’t have much prep time to get ready for the show, so I went on the air and tried to fill the time and be entertaining. Talk radio is not standup comedy, and it isn’t ‘regular radio’ that I have been used to for so long. It’s a different skill, and one that I still have a ways to go to be good at.

I can ad lib a funny line with the best of them, but that’s reacting to someone else. In this genre I am in a room by myself and have to create the energy all alone. That’s not easy, and I have a lot of respect for those people who do it well. Like with any performance skill, it’s a lot harder than it looks. I made it through the show and it was actually a lot of fun, but afterward I needed to get some sleep and I could barely make it home without nodding out. I need some milk of magnesia.

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