Saturday, August 19, 2006

Radiothonics

The past two days have nearly wiped out any reserve of energy I had stored in the toenail of my ingrown toe.

I know. I agree. Ewww.

We recently wrapped 48 hours of broadcasting live at the local hoity-toity retail center to raise money for kids with cancer.

Quite noble don't you agree?

What was amazing to witness was the fact that all the upper crust members of our community were doing one of the following as they passed our broadcast tent:

1) On their cell phones oblivious to their personal vocal volume.
2) Doing their best not to look directly at us because then they might feel a smidgen of guilt to help children with terminal cancer.
3) Sneering at us from nearby outdoor cafes because our music "...is for the little people."
4) Angling their nose upward 24-37 degrees in an effort to denote their upwardly mobile stature.

If we hadn't raised thousands upon thousands of dollars, I would have been dismayed by the lack of compassion. The middle class truly is the backbone of this country.

But back to the live Radiothon...

I have a fantastic time broadcasting at remote locations, when I'm allowed to be on the air without other middling air personalities.

Our morning team believes themselves to be the God given almighty entertainers of radio. Yet, they're still in market #117. Go figure.

On Friday, I had the booth all to myself so I was fully in control of the broadcast and it went pretty well. Then I was scheduled to be on the air for three hours on Saturday with the afternoon guy and Program Director. That's right, my bosserino.

I believe within the first five minutes my brain, in an attempt to save itself, started spewing IQ points.

You know in movies from the 70's when they would have a plane start to have problems staying airborne and they would cut to the altimeter spiraling down to zero? That's what was happenning to my brain.

"So the phones aren't ringing and we need to get them to pop. I've got it!"

Ok, sure. Maybe he does have a clever plan to get people to donate money to kids with cancer. Lets give him a chance.

"I'm going to hold my breath until all seven phones are ringing."

I was on the second mic and I wasn't saying a word. I turned back to the promotion staff at the back of the tent and they were all rolling their eyes.

What my dippy boss didn't realize is that holding your breath sounds exactly like dead air.

He mercifully gave up after an excruciating lull.

I really do hate him with all my being.

Fortunately, and for once, Dialysis came in handy because I was excused early so I could receive treatment. I was supposed to return for the final hour so we could all announce the grand total together.

But moments before a rather bloody and painful session ended, I got a call from the board operator.

"Um, uh, hi...uh, well...Stacy?"

People at the station know better than to call me while at my treatment. Either I'll forget what the conversation is pretaining to or I'll lose focus in the middle of the call.

"Um, your PD told me to tell you that you have to like, you know, do the last hour of board-oping."

"Why didn't he call me himself?"

"Uh, well, I, um, sure, I don't know."

Click.

This is what aggravates me most about working for this dimwhit. Not only does he wait until the last possible minute to take care of pertinent business, but he relays messages through other people. That's just cowardly and shuns the basic logic of the communication industry.

And to quote the comic book guy on "The Simpsons":

"Worst. Boss. Ever."

We did manage to raise over $66,000 for the hospital, so it wasn't a total waste of airtime.

The question that may have erupted into your mind is, "Stacy, why are you still there?"

It's difficult to put a quality aircheck together when you're fighting for your life.

That goes for a resume as well.

It takes three times as long to do anything these days and sometimes I feel the quality lingers just out of reach.

But the kids at the cancer hospital probably know the preceding better than I do.

And I feel for them.

When I was recovering from my first kidney transplant at UCSF, the room across the hall was always very dark and eerily quiet. My room was bright and sunny and full of life.

I asked the nurse on duty while she as changing my sheets who was in the room across the hall.

She sighed heavily before answering.

"Those kids have cancer. We have to separate them from the other kids for their treatment regimen."

Fortunately, those days are long past because of places like St. Jude.

The Radiothon has taken on a much more deeper meaning these days because I have a nephew and a niece on the way.

When people speak about how fulfilling the past was as opposed to what we have today, I always try to remember that if I grew up in the early part of this century, I probably wouldn't have seen my thirteenth birthday.

To quote my Dad, who can be quite wise from time to time:

"Just when you think you've got it bad, somebody always has it worse."

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

MediDontCare

I have wasted the last two days allowing the government institution known as "MediCare" to freely and purposely devour my cell phone minutres.

You think this program is hungry now, wait another ten years.

Usually every three months, like amazing clockwork, the government's financial hampster wheel spins wildly until a bill for $148.50 spits out and lands in my apartment door mail slot.

I didn't glance at the calendar to check the date. I knew in my pocketbook that it was time for another bill to arrive.

I don't know if our President needs one of those large belt buckles declaring his state of origin (you said "confused?" Ha ha. Don't forget to tip your waitress on your exit from the blog...) or Cheney needs another gun safety, but my bill has ballooned to $402.

Deep breaths. Don't panic. Close your eyes and think of puppies.

That's better.

The government still wants over $500 in taxes from last year's return. Now this.

Sigh.

This is where the government dolts you see biding their time in their little pre-fabricated cubes inadvertantly display how clever they truly are.

I trekked from work to the Social Security office, avoiding construction signs for a freeway that will never be wide enough, eventually arriving in what I affectionaitely call "Slimy Town."

It's a part of Santa Rosa where you want all your senses at full alert. My Dad once taught me it was all about attitude when you're walking by your lonesome. Place both hands deep into your front pockets and play with your keys like you have some sort of weapon. When you pass someone, look them directly in the eye whether they want to or not.

Pretty damn good advice.

The security guard at the SS Office is the nicest gentleman you'd ever want to meet. Regardless of who you are or how you might be dressed, he wishes you a good day and asks about your weapon inventory.

I didn't really consider a copy of "USA Today" violent, but I guess that depends on your political view. I like their pie charts.

Here's where I gamble with my medical insurance future. I've been here numerous times to make a last minute payment before they cancel my Medicare benefits and it's a crap shoot as far as who you meet at the window. If it's the short raven haired temptress at Window #3 with too much makeup and her nose tilted ever so subtle into the stale air, you're fucked.

"I have a question about my premium statement."

Her nose wrinkled up and twisted her pretty little face into a contortion that didn't bode well for my financial future.

"We don't answer billing questions. We just take payments. We're the middle man."

"But I've..."

She cut me off with a slice of attitude.

"...here's the phone number. Call them and they'll take care of it."

Over my head she sceams, "Next."

I was too tired and dizzy from a lack of blood pressure medication, so I exited and allowed a few expletives from languages other than English to escape my lips.

So she was the government's first patsy in the way of resolving my problem.

Sneaky lackeys.

The number she gave me was for the Social Security office, not Medicare, so she fucked me while only displaying her massive bosom at the SS Office.

The frustrated lackey at the 800 Social Security number gave me the 1-800-Medicare number.

That turned out to be for people wishing to file a claim, not ask a billing question, even though one of the choices on the overly verbose menu was "billing."

I wanted to jam my cell phone antenna deep into my ear in hopes of connecting with someone with some compassion, but all that managed to do was bring in the local "hits of the 80's, 90's and today" station. Since I wasn't in the mood to "Chaka Khan" I removed the device and tried one last time.

"You have reached the Office of Billing for Medicare Part B..."

Success! Hooray! Booyah!

"...we are presently closed."

"Bastardos! Vendejos! Putas!"

That's all the Spanish curse words I could remember from my time as an Assistant Manager at Mama's Pizza in Seal Beach during my ever fading college years.

It then occured to me that I could have shoved the cell phone up my skinny pale ass and achieved just as much as I had in the previous two hours.

Which is pretty much how I see my government from time to time.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Crest of the Listener Wave

Most of the time people really piss me off.

Somewhere in the mid-80's, this country adopted a "fuck you, please me" attitude where it was every soul for themselves.

This annoys me to no end.

Dialysis patients blasting their TV's and failing to adhere to normal hygiene practices.

Fucktards failing to hold the door open so it slams down on your innocent wrist.

Clinically obese co-workers who swallow five pieces of pizza and then complain about why they can't lose any weight.

And then I receive a letter like the following:

Dear Stacy...

Last year I remember listening to your show and your comments about Dialysis. Ending your show with comments of "off to Dialysis" or thoughts about meeting girls but afraid to let them see your arm really hit home for me at the time. My husband just had a fistula put in his arm and we knew Dialysis was coming soon.

Last November he started Dialysis. As you know it is a total loss of freedom not to mention the inconvenience and pain. It turned out that I was a match for him and he now has my kidney. Our surgeries were in April. Every day is a gift to us now.

When I listen to your show, I always think and hope that a kidney transplant is in the future for you. People who have never been on Dialysis or have someone close to them who is on it, never know how hard it is. People need to know that is it OK to give one of your two kidneys away and live a normal life. I sincerely hope there is a new kidney for you in the near future.

Good luck.

Louise

In response, I write in kind to Louise:

Dear Louise...

I want to sincerely thank you for taking the time to send a letter detailing you and your husband's ordeal with kidney failure. Please know that I am glad to admit you and your husband to a special Transplant Club. My mother and sister are both members and have never had a health issue related to donation.

I am also a little ashamed to admit I am a little envious and not for the reason you probably suspect. Your husband is a lucky gentleman because he has had someone to share the hellish experience of surviving Dialysis. Loneliness and despair can occasionaly hinder the healing process when it comes to recovering from Dialysis.

And don't be surprised if your husband adopts a few of your quirks or preferences. After my Mom's kidney was transplanted, I loved nothing more than salty food and chewing ice. Right after my sister's kidney was accepted, I found myself with an insatiable desire for anything chocolate.

Oh yeah, and now I occasionaly sob at sad movies. Sssshhh. Don't tell anyone.

Thank you again for taking the time to write. I wish you and your husband good health and good times.

Sincerely,

Stacy Without An E

P.S...I will keep the small slice of hope for humanity you've freely given me and prepare to use it next time another member of the human race fails to save any for the rest of us.

Monday, August 14, 2006

An Open Letter to My Blog

Hello "Stacy Without An E" blog, how are you?

Please face me when I'm talking to you.

I know, I know, I KNOW! I haven't been paying you any attention lately and I'm sorry.

It couldn't be helped.

I've been bleary eyed from all the hours I've been working and Dialysis just...

Yawning in the middle of my explanation is isn't helping.

I know you're pissed and you have a right to be, ok? Just hear me out.

For the last two months everything in my life has diluted to a barely breathing grey. I'm suffocating from a lack of personal freedom from insurmountable debt. I barely speak to anyone and all the flavor of my personality has gone stale.

Yes, I'm finished.

You're right, you're absofrickinlutely right. I should have spoken to you instead holding all of this in.

You have been my savior in the past. At times, you're the only one who would listen.

Let's not fight. I'm tired and I want to go home.

I can't take you with me. You know I don't have internet access at home.

Yes, I'm one sad mo-fo.

At least you're facing me now.

Ok, I'll ask you. How have YOU been?

Lonely? What a ka-winky-dink. So have I.

I promise to try to pay you some attention each and every day, ok?

I'm telling the truth this time.

No, I won't sign documentation. That's silly.

Hey, I've got an idea. How about a makeover?

No, I don't think you're ugly. I just thought it might cheer you up. I was thinking about YOUR feelings for once.

I'm not verbally crapping on you. It's true. I know this webmaster whose speciality is fixing up blog's that need a little update.

Well, first I'd take away that depressing black background and replace it with something a little more eyecatching.

No, I don't think your background is fat. You're quite lean for your age.

I'd probably adjust the font a little and give you a creative header. Something a little more contemporary inspired by pop culture.

I can't explain right now. Just be patient, ok?

Yeah, it's good to spend some quality time with you too. Now give me a big hug.

Well a sarcastic "fuck you" to you too.