An annoying, recurring dream has been threading its way through my overnight cache of remembrances lately, in which the latter normally reviews semi-consciously, a dysfunctional, somewhat mundane existence up to now, making my memories appear glorious, hilariously outrageous. Dreams are the best part of sleep: those little slices of death, as Edgar Allan Poe refers to them.
Most of the usual, ethereal, existential, slumberous scenarios maintain a regular cast of characters, like my father, mother and brother; son, relatives, even my ex-wife on occasion—usually that one turns out to be a nightmare—old friends, lovers, co-workers and superiors, people who are forever out of my life from either death, by my retirement, or conscious decisions. Especially now with the holidays in motion, my dreams are locked in overdrive.
This particular, aforementioned chimera harks me back to my radio days, when everything we played over the airwaves was strictly analog from tape, or spun on vinyl. Unless on-air personalities had an engineer or producer in the studio with them at all times, a perk that’s available only to those working in top-ten markets like NY, LA, Chicago, San Francisco, Philly, etc; disc jockeys were responsible for running the whole show.
My first radio gig might as well have been in Bangor, Maine, where most radio announcers usually start out; or at similar, small markets wherever. Making it to the big time was everyone’s dream, but for me started in Ellenville, New York; and ended in Montgomery, Alabama. I sold some advertising in Northern California for a bit before returning back to the East Coast and getting a real job.
Everything broadcasted at that time had to be cued-up physically beforehand: records on turntables, tape cartridges inserted into a rack of players each with either a commercial to be run, a sound bite for a newscast, taped copy of a live ad-lib about someone’s product or event; all to be ready for launching at the end of the previously programmed segment. Not having anything prepared for the next presentation was worse than getting caught with one’s pants down.
“Dead Air” is what it’s called, one of the several mortal sins in broadcasting; and if there’s too much of it during one’s shift, the jock’s future employment can become mighty uncertain.
Freud would have had a field day with this one, I presume; as how he interpreted a patient’s having dreams of walking into their university’s classroom, out in public, or in one’s place of work while naked.
In my case it’s not having another record cued-up to go when the dead air begins. Chaos ensues with my looking around frantically for an album to place on the platter, a taped tune or public-service announcement to slap into the cart machine, turning on the mike to kill the forbidden silence with a stupid joke or something off-the-wall, doing a Snoopy dance in the meantime.
This chain of events somehow seems to filter its way randomly into whatever dream may be playing at the moment, typically when I’m having a full-blown Freudian dream. I’m suddenly dragged back into a dumpy, little broadcasting studio, running around in circles, looking to find a bloody vinyl record to play, seeing only CDs scattered about with no machines available to stick them in. Digital music was in its infancy. Dead air is all that is left.
I usually wake up at that point. Talk about ruining a wet dream! Happy holidays to my friends who visit here. Thanks for your support.