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Friday, May 30, 2008

Outtakes from a public radio pledge drive

ROCKET SCIENCE

You know, sometimes I'll be out and about in public places and I'll hear someone talking loudly on his cell phone. So loudly I can hardly think. Many of us have experienced that before. Sometimes I'll say, "Hey, could you keep it down a little?" Often, I'll get the finger.

But you know, I think I have a right to say something because that kind of inconsiderate behavior makes me angry. Just as it makes me angry to know that you're sitting there, listening to public radio, just like you do every day, and you still haven't sent us a single cent. You're as bad as the loud cell-phone talkers.

— So please, call now and give a pledge to public radio. —

I was at the market the other day, and I asked the butcher if I could see the prime rib. He pointed it out in the glass case. I asked him if I could hold it. He gave me a funny look, as butchers often do, but he proceeded to pull a nice prime rib out of the case, wrapped in wax paper. I took hold of it, thanked him, and ran out of the store. Within moments of leaving the parking lot, I was pulled over and arrested for shoplifting prime rib.

— Public radio is a lot like prime rib. You're stealing it from us right now by listening and not paying. We're going to have you arrested unless you donate today. —

The other night, I was out for an evening walk through the city. It was a nice autumn evening, featuring the kind of cool weather that makes you happy to be alive. I happened upon a young fellow busking for change. He was strumming guitar into the dusky air, and his guitar case was open. Inside the case, strewn about haphazardly, were an impressive number of dollar bills and some spare change. While watching him play, several more people walked by and dropped cash into his case. Needless to say, that disturbed me. I went home and cried myself to sleep.

— Please don't give your money to that well-meaning but amateurish guitar player. Public radio needs your money more. Call us today. —

Remember when you were in eighth grade and you were masturbating in your room and your mother walked in with the clean, folded laundry and caught you? And then, after most of the embarrassment had cleared and you walked out of your room, you realized that your mother had fainted shortly after leaving your room and knocked her head so hard that she suffered a slight concussion? And you felt so guilty? Do you feel guilty now? Sitting there? By yourself? Listening? I think you know the answer.

— I'd like to ask you to come out of your little room and make amends for the trouble you're causing by sending a $300 pledge our way. —

I was in Starbucks the other day and I saw a man buying a large — I think they call it Venti — cappuccino. I stopped him and asked, "Do you buy a $4 coffee every day?" He admitted that he did. I said, "Give me your cappuccino. That belongs to public radio." A struggle ensued. The drink spilled on my face, and I suffered second-degree burns.

— I'm now suing that man for $1 million. Would you like to be sued? Or do you think it would be easier to send $4 a day to public radio? —

Let's face it: You're a horrible cheapskate. I mean, you went dutch on your date with your co-worker the other night. And you were the one who asked her out to the nice restaurant in the first place. What gives? Did your mother not raise you properly? And why did you still expect a kiss at the end of the date? I suppose if you had paid for the dinner, you would have expected sex?

— I don't know — it just seems like you're awfully comfortable with the idea that you're owed something. But you don't owe anyone anything — is that it? Listen, don't call me. Not until you're ready to treat me with some respect. I deserve respect in the form of a $500 pledge today. —

Once, when I was in kindergarten, a bee stung my finger during recess. I cried out, and my teacher came over to help me. She took me back to the classroom, pulled out one of her cigarettes from a pack in her purse, broke open the cigarette and emptied the tobacco onto her desk. She then used Scotch tape to wrap the raw tobacco over the point where the bee had stung me, claiming it would "make it feel better." I suppose we didn't have a proper first aid kit around.

— That is what happens when you don't fund things properly: Children are introduced to the healing powers of cigarette tobacco. Please call our station with a pledge to public radio today. —

This column was previously published in Creative Loafing on Nov. 19, 2005.

Jamie Allen is an Atlanta writer whose column, Rocket Science, appears occasionally on Fresh Loaf. To read more Rocket Science columns, click here. He’d very much like you to visit The Duck & Herring Co.’s Pocket Field Guides website, which he edits.

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