There’s an old joke about a guy jumping off a skyscraper. As he dropped past a window cleaner, who was working about halfway to the ground, the window cleaner calls out, “How you doing?”
The jumper, as he passes the 12th floor, replies, “So far, so good.”
Years ago, I drove trucks and listened to a lot of clear channel overnight radio. Most of it was good, some excellent, but some was awful. As I got more burned out with trucking and the hassles entailed in it, I thought a lot about those bad announcers on 50,000 watt radio stations. Like most neophytes, I believed I could do better.
After leaving the road, I got a job at a little daytime 1Kw station. I read the farm news, read from the newspaper about any local stuff that had been stolen, and operated the mixing board for NASCAR races. When enough kind-of-professional announcers had quit, resigned, or been fired, I got a throw-away air shift. I became a disc jockey! Hoo Rah!
I was terrible.
This is not false modesty. I was.
With my still-to-this-day hillbilly accent, my inability to appreciate flow, tempo, and timing record to record, and a complete inability to relate to my audience (there were a few humans in amongst the cows and pigs that our little signal reached), I was a walking and talking disaster.
However, I turned out to have a talent for the engineering side of radio, and then television, then earth station operation, finally ending my working life as the operator of a satellite uplink truck. It was great fun.
Trucking and engineering have a lot of downtime. You can’t leave but you have nothing to do while the trailer is being loaded, unloaded, and washed out; the client is arriving with tapes; talent is getting their make-up; the commercial break is playing; whatever. You drink coffee and read.
Coffee is either good or terrible. There’s damn little mediocre coffee. But books, stories, and magazines come in shades of great and awful.
Plenty of what I read made me think that I could do better. It’s a variation of my radio-announcer dream, but this time, instead of just reading the stories better, I want to be the one creating better stories. They still feature farms and local stuff being stolen. No NASCAR, though. Not yet.
I’ve been writing since my son was in middle school. My editor is wonderful.
So, here I am, just passing the 12th floor, on my way to wherever I’m going.
So far, so good.