Daze Of My Life/A Voice With Experience
by Kenneth B. Lourie
Quite coincidental with an alarm system/automatic door lock malfunction in our 2000 Mitsubishi Eclipse that kill-switched the engine/battery into the off-and-unable-to-turn-back-on position, while driving my parents’ car the next morning and listening to the radio, I happened on to “Goss’s Garage.” “Goss’s Garage” is a radio program on what channel I don’t recall, where the host, Pat Goss, I believe his name is, answers any and all questions pertaining to automobile (car, truck, etc.) maintenance.
When I heard Mr. Goss identify his show on the radio, I thought it was divine intervention, so I listened intently, deluding myself into thinking that some other dope like me was going to call in inquiring about the very problem my car, and its owner, was experiencing. And all I had to do was to sit patiently in my car and listen for the solution.
Well, it didn’t quite work out that way. Within minutes I was already bored with the show. A caller was seeking an explanation for a blinker light malfunction: It was blinking intermittently. Pat’s knowledge about the problem and its potential solution (the ground, the wire, the socket) was so excruciatingly overwhelming (to me) that I immediately changed the station. Still, his in-depth knowledge and understanding of the problem started me thinking (always dangerous).
Is there a subject on which I have sufficient knowledge to go on radio and be able to answer any questions pertaining to that subject (like Mr. Goss does)?
This thought has nothing to do with ego, since I have none, but it does have to do with confidence, confidence as to whether I have any legitimate information to share. Some of that information I share with you regular readers, some of it I don’t. Mostly though, what I do share with you is the truth, subject to my interpretation, of course: observations, perceptions, characterizations, etc., which together add up to become the “Daze of My Life,” as my weekly column is headlined in some newspapers.
Strictly speaking, I imagine the subjects on which I have ample knowledge: sports, baseball in particular; chocolate; my wife, Dina; display advertising sales; and credit card use and non-abuse; are hardly the stuff of which radio talk show dreams are made. Nevertheless, I do have a bit of a track record that might enable me to talk the talk.
For better or worse, I have been able to churn out this dribble, as my brother, Richard, so affectionately and respectfully says, week in and week out for almost seven years. Come January, I will have also completed my fourth year contributing a monthly opinion-editorial piece for The Potomac Almanac, in addition to my regular column with which some of you are familiar. Together I have had over 400 essays published. “Thoughtful humor and insightful commentary,” as a good friend once described them, or nothing in particular about everything in general, as I describe them.
But is this literary accomplishment in and of itself enough to consider a career in broadcasting? Moreover, is honesty, as I tell it, the best way to attract an audience? Though I write about myself, I hope you all realize that what I write about is not important because it’s about me. Hardly. I’m just a vehicle (finally back to “Goss’s Garage”) for therapeutic venting, hopefully. I’m no different from anybody else (“Oh, really?”).
If it happens to me or I think it (and write it), then somebody else must have also thought it but perhaps didn’t have an outlet in which to express it.
Well, I have such an outlet. And I have an audience, right? And if there’s anything to be gained from reading my column, I hope it is the assurance that (A) “peculiar” is a relative term, (B) it’s not you, it’s everyone and (C) sharing one’s lack of knowledge is not necessarily a bad thing. The proof is in my prose.
Lourie is a regionally syndicated columnist who resides in Burtonsville, MD.