In Case of Emergency

May 25, 2008 at 5:30 pm (The Easy Chair)

In case of emergency, *they* say to have a radio ready at all times. Today I learned my lesson.

We have eight million (slight exaggeration) busted radios around our house. Everywhere I look there’s a ghetto blaster or a portable radio that is a distant cousin to the AMC Pacer. Busted? Most of them need a cord, or the CD player no longer works. The cord thing? People steal them from the work radio, and since I’m the one who gets pissy and antsy whenever I can’t ring up groceries to the delicate melodies of Slayer, I bring a cord from home. I had a spare in my backpack until recently, when it got in the way and I pulled it out, thinking to myself “This goddamn thing! I never use it…” I tossed it somewhere, or maybe used it for its intended purpose.

It wasn’t where I needed it to be today.

My cell phone is an older model. It doesn’t have ring tones or display pictures of ejaculating monkeys (thank ya, lord) but it works when I need it. When I saw the phone number of the incoming caller, I didn’t immediately recognize it. 503-228-4101. Hmm.

Oh. OH. OH!! KUFO is calling me! I unplugged the charger (making the most of those free weekend minutes is death on a battery) and said hello.

“Hey, this is Frank from KUFO calling. You submitted a My Rock playlist. A twelve-minute Zappa song? You must be dreaming! Well, this is your dream. Your set is coming up in about two minutes. What else did you request, so the kiddies know?”

“Oh, fuuuu…dge, what was it? House of 1,000 Corpses by Rob Zombie?” My thinking-out-loud while trying not to cuss probably sounded like Walter Brennan with Tourette’s Syndrome. I completed the call with thanks o’plenty. The big problem was… how the fuck am I gonna hear my stuff?

My big-time master blaster stereo is 24 years old. The speakers are older. The LED that displays the radio channels died in about 1992, so if I want to hear radio I have to wait for call letters or NOT mess with the channel. Since I only listen to radio at work, or the occasional Saturday night when KINK plays acid jazz, I’m not prepared to jam to other people’s music. I poked the appropriate button, but no sound.

The clock is ticking.

Like a scene from 24, I dashed from room to room looking for a working ghetto blaster. (*Dash* may be an exaggeration. I’m using a cane this weekend. More on that later.) My niece was helpful, but gets nervous whenever Uncle Charlie is in a dither. Tick. Tick…

My bigass boom box, the one identical to the Joker’s in Tim Burton’s Batman, had been relocated from my nephew’s room. Motherfucker!!!


My sister’s clock radio and alarm clock! It’s the size of a John Grisham paperback, with a speaker the size of a half-dollar. WTF, when in Rome… At least I could read the dial.

I flipped the station over a couple notches, and managed to catch the intro to House of 1,000 Corpses. (“Police reports indicate evidence of murder, cannibalism etc…”) Cannibalism? Yes my weekend has a tale of cannibalism. A real one. Again, more on that later. But first, my set list.

House of 1,000 Corpses sounds remarkably good on a tiny radio. It’s a bit cowboy for KUFO, and I was surprised that they played my set at all, because I broke almost every rule of commercial radio. I chose a twelve-minute song. (Here’s your bathroom break, DJ Frank.) It insults its listeners to get out and ‘get a life.’ It’s got doo-woppy intros. WTF was I thinking? They’ll never play it.

Yo’ Mama, by Frank Zappa. All twelve fucking minutes of it. In yo’ face! No, in yo’ mama’s face! Yesss!!!

I called Boss Whitney, but he was unavailable. Clairissa was at a bus stop five minutes away from home. Damn. While she wouldn’t hear my voice on the radio, we had an impromptu Sunday howyadoin’ that kicked my spirits into high gear. I rang off, and listened to DJ Frank close my set off. “Well, if we can say nothing else about Mister Charlie, he has eclectic and diverse musical tastes.”

Eclectic and diverse? From a KUFO DJ? (There is hope for tomorrow’s youth.) That sounds snarky. I’ve met DJ Frank, and I cast no aspersions as to his intelligence or likability. They have to pander to a lowbrow audience sometimes. (Like me…) Frank, if I still worked at the place that sells Slurpees, you’d be hooked up for life.

Now, to that story of cannibalism. Yes, it’s true and I’m not joking.

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