I sent my book, As I Rock
Myself to Sleep, to my cousin on
New Year’s Eve 2009. Which
meant I had some free time in
January. I wrote a little bit, a
couple rough drafts of stories I
plan on writing for the next
book I will write. (Which will be
As I Rock Myself to Sleep Vol. II and III) But one day I was on Wikipedia looking up stuff about the band Bright Eyes. Some of Bright Eyes’ songs have separate pages, so I was looking at them to learn more about their songs. One of my favorites and the first song I ever heard of theirs, “Lover I Don’t Have to Love,” had on the page that the line “I asked your name, you asked the time,” came from the novel Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.
This non-cited fact caught my attention. So, I investigated further to learn more about the novel. I read up on it and became interested. I checked the on-line catalog for my local library, but they didn’t have it. The Belleville library had it, so I thought I might check it out one day before work. But, my local library did have a copy of Nine Stories, another book by Salinger. I checked it out.
That day I started reading it and I tell you what, A Perfect Day for Bannafish, the first story, had me hooked. It was just like the stories I wanted to write. And I believe it is similar to some of the stories I had already written. So, I felt I had a connection with Salinger. At the end of the week, on Saturday, I went to Borders and bought a $7.99 copy of Catcher in the Rye.
It took me less than two weeks to read the novel. I would have finished it sooner, but I was enjoying it so much I didn’t want to rush it. The enjoyment of the book caused me to read up more on Salinger and learn about who he was.
I still had Nine Stories in my possession. It was due back at the library on Thursday January 27. I woke up and made myself a bowl of cereal and sat down at the computer to read the daily news. I went to Yahoo and on the home page was the story about J.D. Salinger passing away, the same day I was to return Nine Stories.
I felt so sad and weird at the same time. I took the book back to the library and when I stuck it in the book return slot I thought about one of the librarians seeing the book being returned. Very interesting if you ask me. Take I as you may, the J.D. Salinger effect.
This is kind of funny. When I think back to when I finished high school
I figured, like Jeremy, going to college was the thing to do. I had decent
grades for a kid who never studied and did most “homework” the hour
before it was due; I’m not bragging it’s just true. While everyone
was walking down the middle of the road, I was walking on the curve,
the same direction, though.
Anyway, I went to Wayne State University, while there, I told people
I was an accounting major. Understand I never took one accounting class
in college. Heck, I didn’t even take a math class until my last semester (see origins of Dennis Gets Drugs).
One year later I started telling people I was majoring in Business. See, the start of every semester, in every class, most, if not every teacher, would go around the room and each student would give their name, year and what they were studying. Almost everyone would say Business, so I started saying it. During the fall of my second year, I took this Communications class, Com 1010, I believe. And I tell you what, I took over that class. Everyone loved me. I would just "act a fool". I’m not bragging it’s just true. I remember some of them. There was this guy named Mike Day, who “claimed” he was in the movie Hard Ball (starring the wondrous Keanu Reeves) and he had a script being developed in Hollywood, and the rampant, dark haired girl who was desperately trying to get Mike Day to “take her out.” Oh, and the guys from the golf team. And that timid Freshman I would try to hook up with girls in the class. They would all anticipate my speeches. Everyone seems to hate making speeches and these kids were no different. I bet some of them had trouble sleeping the night before, but so did I. Not because of anxiety, I don’t even know what that is exactly. It sounds made up. It sounds like an excuse. The reason I couldn’t sleep the night before a speech was because I couldn’t stop laughing and coming up with funny stuff to say. I may have a few tapes somewhere. Even the teacher loved me. This is how good I was: I never read the book and I failed every test and exam AND I didn’t even do my last speech because we didn’t have enough time for everyone, so I just didn’t do mine (to the dismay of my classmates) so others could do theirs and pass the class, that’s how sweet I am. With all that, I still passed. I mean, every speech I did was just me standing infront of the class and trying to make everyone laugh. So what does this have to do with anything? See, also at this time I discovered sports radio. I was only twenty, but all listened to on the radio was talk radio. It started with Howard Stern on 97.1 (and no I wasn't listening to see the naked girls on the show, people seem to not understand that you can not see what the radio is playing). Then, I started listening to the preceding talk shows. In the evening, they had a sports show featuring Rob Parker, yeah that guy on ESPN. Then one day, wanting to get my sports talk fix during the day, I switched over to the AM and found Sports Radio 1130 WDFN the Fan. I loved that station so much, I made it my goal to work there. So, at the end of the semester, in my COM 1010 class, I announced I was changing my major to Communications. So the years went by and I changed my major from Communications to Media Studies to Journalism, which got changed to Broadcast Journalism, which I received my degree in. With all those changes, the goal stayed the same. After “messin’ around” those years I finally put together a game plan. I set it up so I could do an internship at WDFN my last semester of school, and that internship would be the only thing I did that semester. After the internship, they would hire me, because I was so good, and I would begin a career in sports radio. It all came to fruition. I remember the interview for the internship, it was very unnecessary. It was November 2008 and there was a big snow storm. I drove from Taylor to Farmington Hills just to interview for that internship. I should have known from that treacherous storm something was awry. So the guy told me that day I would be able to intern for the station, but I would have to do the morning show, which meant, I would have to be there every day from 6-10 a.m. But I was like “that’s what’s up” I mean this was my goal and this was what I wanted to do. Also, I figured this was a way to express my determination and dedication to the station.
Note: WDFN was a very special radio station. The “cool” people were listening and working there. They did what they wanted because the only people who listened were the people who liked the station, if that make sense.
The internship started the second week of January, 2009. I stayed with my Uncle in Canton, so I didn’t have to drive so far every day. I was up every morning at 5:22 a.m. (I do that, I set my alarm for weird times, but I always get places on time that way, never too early, never too late) I would make some hot tea and scraped the snow and ice off my car. (It snowed like every morning, it was stupid, again, I should have noticed the signs.) That first week, I was answering phones, putting people on-air, discussing topics with the talent and just living the dream. Speaking of dreams, that next Monday was MLK day. I awoke and drove to the station like normal and helped with the show. At the end of the show, my boss told me not to come in the next day. She told me she’d call me on Tuesday and let me know about Wednesday. I was kind of excited about not having to wake up at 5:22 the next day I didn’t even detect what was to come. The next day I was listening to the radio station where I was now an employee, albeit an intern. At the end of the 9-noon show, the host announced the station would be broadcasting Barack Obama’s inaugural speech. When the 3:00 show was to start, they went to a nation broadcast show. And that was the end of WDFN as we knew it. See, times were rough. Here are the brief details: every on-air host at WDFN was laid off and the station was changing to a nation sports station. The only people remaining were my boss and a few reporters and producers. See, WDFN still had to broadcast the Detroit Pistons games until the season was over. I mean, I did it. My goal was to work at WDFN and I did, for a week. So that’s kind of funny. The bright side was that rest of the semester I got a chance to do a lot of cool stuff. I on-site produced numerous Pistons basketball games, I covered Pistons practices, I help in studio with broadcasting Pistons road games and I even helped with a show on my favorite sports event of the year, the NFL draft. So, I ended up doing most of the stuff a full or part time employee would have been doing. But when the Pistons playoff run ended in early May, so did my internship and my radio career. I really didn’t know what to do next, so I put a bunch of ideas I had together and wrote this book of short stories. I am certain I would have never written it if I would have got hired at WDFN or if the station did not change. Now here’s the eerie part. In September 2009, I was about two-thirds finished writing my book, Clear Channel announced WDFN was bringing back local programming. Almost everything went back to normal. It was almost like it never changed. Come on, don’t you see? Don’t you see WDFN shut down just long enough for me to realize I wanted to write this book? And long enough to keep me from working there. Now you see how I came to be a writer. You see how everything fell into place and how every little thing lead to the next which lead to the final result. There are some other interesting things that happened along the way and even some things that happened this pass year. But this was the a faithful event that lead me to this (hopefully) final destination.