In this episode you’ll hear about my past as an indie music DJ, a query to Craigslist and a postcard to Senator Joni Ernst.
- Subscribe on iTunes/Apple Podcasts | Subscribe on any Podcatcher
- Letter Talk is written and produced by me, and my sister Amy edits my writing. This episode features music from Kevin MacLeod.
- Joe Maragna Esquire’s scary tone is the work of Simon Lacelle. Good job, Simon!
Read the letters after the jump!
Many years ago, I was going to college for broadcast, and all I wanted to do was work in radio. During my teen years, I thought it was just the coolest thing ever. I was off to a rocky start, though. I had gotten turned down from being an intern on the Tim and Malayna Show — the prestigious morning program on Reno’s most prestigious country radio station. When I interviewed, they asked if I was a country music fan, and I said “I could be” very suspiciously. They responded “You don’t have to be.” Since my school wouldn’t give me college credit for the internship, the radio station shooed me away. I had to give up my “dream job.”
After that I tried to get a shitty job or internship at every radio station in the city to no avail. At that point I gave up and went to the obvious choice: my college’s student run radio station. It operated out of a weird shack a block away from campus, like it had to be hidden from the other students. Maybe because it was haunted? Ooooo… I ran a show with my friend where we played songs and attempted to do comedy bits. I still have some burned copies of our show and I don’t dare to listen to them. I feel quite awful, because after two freshman semesters of award-worthy college radio, I got too big for my britches. I had to “release the dead weight of a co-anchor” and realize my full potential as a radio DJ at an online radio station who had a time slot before a show that featured two poli sci majors shouting at each other for an hour.
I went on to produce and host my own radio show, but even then it wasn’t enough. I had dreams of making it to to the big leagues: the NPR affiliate. After spending time volunteering I was invited to sit in on the indie music show. It was hosted by a philosophy professor at the University of Nevada, and the radio show was called “Notes from the Underground.” I assumed the “notes” were musical notes, and the “underground” alluded to the fact that we were in an eerie basement-like structure at 11pm to 1am on a Saturday night: the prime time for Reno, Nevada’s finest homebodies who tune in to hear what the Decemberists were up to.
I loved co-hosting with philosophy man, and from outside accounts, I was pretty entertaining. My dad’s musician friend from work said that I sounded good, was charming and funny, and loosened up ol’ professor philosophy. If I had to estimate, I would say that my dad’s musician friend made up 50% of the listening audience, so that’s a pretty monumental shift in the crowd response.
The philosophy man wanted to quit the show to spend more time philosophizing with his family. (I don’t know if that’s true, but that’s the assumption I made.) He was planning to have me take it over when he left, and I was so excited. Doing the show was amazing. I felt so cool, and then in two weeks the whole show was gone. The station manager cancelled the show, thus cancelling my dream of being cool once a week on Saturday from 11pm to 1am.
And now, 10 years later I’m wondering how I can ever learn to be cool. That’s why I’m sending you this letter. You are so cool that people are unsure of your existence. “Is he real? Is he fake?” they ask. I’m sure your minions are reading this, and to the minions I say: “Please, please, please, ensure that this letter is delivered to Mr. Chester Cheetah of Cheetos fame.” Please, Cheetos Headquarters, ensure that this letter makes it to who I assume is your be-sun-spectacled CEO … oh no wait, is it uncool to call glasses spectacles? I can’t believe I’m embarrassing myself in front of Mr. Cheetah himself.
Anyway, Mr. Cheetah, please let me know what I can do to become cool again. Especially after that recent embarrassing “spectacle” debacle. Any advice would be helpful.
Yours in sunglasses,
Come sail away, come sail away, come sail away with me! Are you into Styx? I sure am. I wish people could fight with those instead of guns. Can you do something about that shit?
P.S. Someday you may have to face the music and add another vowel into your last name.
I want to posit a scenario for you. And if you’ve never seen this particular scenario before, I want to warn you that it is something that might be happening under your nose!
While I was looking for an apartment, I was religiously checking your ads every day. I ended up checking out a sublet. The current occupants were moving to Colorado to be closer to recreational marijuana … or for a job — I don’t remember which one.
When I got to the showing, there was a girl in the apartment, probably around her early 20s, and she was by herself. I looked around, but didn’t like the apartment. I was polite and didn’t say much, but I could hear the fussy, cheap asshole inside me talking:
Waddya need all this space for? How tall are these ceilings? That looks horrible to try to heat. Where do you park? Washer and dryer in the kitchen right next to – the stove? What if I’m drunk and accidentally put an omelette in the dryer instead of the microwave? This echos like a cave and that’s spooky. You expect that one window AC unit to cool this fucking bingo hall-ass apartment? Good-fucking-luck. No wonder you’re moving to the mountains.
It was clear to me that I didn’t want this apartment. But still, I continued to look around with interest. My interest was mostly in the half packed contents of the apartment. It’s quite distracting to look at an apartment that’s still occupied. It’s like, “This is how someone else would fill this space with clutter.” It’s hard to visualize living in a place when stuff is still there. I kept thinking, “Oh god, I don’t have to keep this antique couch right?” I could imagine sitting in that wicker chair over there and screaming when some unwoven wicker painfully pokes me in the ass. Then I jump up and yell, “No wonder they wanted to kill the Wicker Man in that movie the Wicker Man! Wicker is terrible!” And once again I find myself alone and shouting into the void about Nicolas Cage movies.
As I moved through the apartment my attention moved to the girl. Wow. I wouldn’t have been able to show an apartment to a rando from Craigslist by myself. I would be worried that they would murder me … Well, I guess they would have the last emails she exchanged with that person, so they could see who it was. Oh my god, but I was one of the last people she emailed and texted! What if I had stumbled into her apartment right after she got murdered, AND THEY BLAMED IT ON ME! AND THEN BEFORE I KNOW IT I’M AN ENTIRE SEASON OF SERIAL. Oh no, my anxious mind is wandering so much that I managed to get scared of being framed for murder.
Anyway, Craigslist, I’m writing this letter to ask if you have policies to
- Prevent people from being murdered, and
- Prevent people from being framed for murder.
I will also have my lawyer, Joe Maragna, Esq., look into this matter on his free time.