March 13, 2012 by David Gillaspie
And you’re glad they do.
Forget the driver-radio rule. You don’t enforce that one every time with your wife in the car and stay married.
Instead, the car radio turns into a free-association combat zone.
Instead, it’s Kristian Foden-Vencil, and Garrison Keillor on NPR, no matter who drives. It’s not fair, but that’s not the most important thing.
Still, you must try.
Explain how neither of those guys ever presented the Lombardi Trophy after a Super Bowl; neither of them ever goaded struggling LA Ram quarterback Jim Everett into smacking him down during an interview by calling him Chrissy Everett.
Winning and fair don’t always go together.
Winning and losing is cut and dried.
Winning and fair come down to feeling. What if you take first place in a state competition because of a ref’s scoring mistake. Do you give the medal, the trophy, the plaque to the other person?
Or do you live with the feelings of the win, no matter what? The answer tells things you might not know about yourself.
Listening to sports radio does the same thing.
Are you old? Do you want to feel old? Ask a twenty-something about Garrison Keillor and Kristian Foden-Vencil. If they know them at all, they’ll say, “Cool, now I know what to listen to in thirty years.” If they don’t, and you explain, they say the same thing.
Sports talk radio is an antidote for PBS. Instead of whispering male voices, or voices that sound like an adam’s apple exercise, you hear regular man voices. You hear what guys sound like as if you’re in the room after a game. That illusion fades when the phone calls start and first-time, long-time caller trips over their cell phone cord.
Sometimes sports talk radio brings together people you’d never expect.
Like everyone else, you’ve been saving half an hour all of your life to hear Charles Barkley in The Jungle, and you’re in the car with radio Nazi. You explain it’s different than before, it’s not two guys yelling, not some thug impersonating a respected and honored athlete who expresses strong feelings.
You plead your case. You’re having fun. She’s about to break.
“These guys were on opposite shores. Barkley said things. Rome said things. Now they’re pals on the radio. We’ve got to hear this one. Just this one. It’s on next, right after the break.”
And she caves. You’re feeling it until the first commercial.
“Do you want to feel as good as a man can feel? Then come down for a hair-cut and a hot towel shave while you’re drinking a pint of cold beer. We specialize in neck shaving, always a problem area for men in the back.”
Who gets the back of their neck shaved, she asks. You don’t answer because you don’t know. You think of the zoo, poodles, animal grooming.
She asks if you’ve ever had the back of your neck shaved. You say you’re thinking of getting it waxed.
“A good night sleep is the only guarantee of having a great day tomorrow. Do you wake up tired, confused, with a scratchy feeling on the back of your neck? A new bed means a good nights sleep. Come on down for your new bed.”
Are you sleeping well, she asks? Maybe it’s the bed.
You don’t answer because you haven’t given it a thought. If you did you’d say you’re sleeping fine.
We ought to look at some mattresses, she says, I need a new pillow. She already sleeps with eight pillows, but you don’t mention it.
Charles Barkley and Jim Rome on the radio. Coming up next. Barkley pushed a smart aleck through a window years ago. Rome is the sort of smart alack who gets drilled by pro athletes. Just a few more commercials and you’ll be in sports fan heaven with the Round Mound of Rebound vs Snagger.
“What is the first call to make after a DUI? I hope we never have to talk, but if we do, I want you to put this number in your wallet. We’re good at what we do. We’re solid.”
It’s sad isn’t it, she says, that grown men who know better still get behind the wheel after drinking. You don’t do that, do you?
“Be ready when the moment is right. Take a daily dose, or a booster when the time is right for her.”
The commercials sort of skate around it, she says. They’re not trying to jam things down your throat.
You keep seeing Barkley in a Rams jersey slamming Rome into a desk.
“It may be over quickly, but the effects can last a lifetime. Protect yourself when she stops waxing the floor.”
We need our floors waxed, she says. It’s been a while. Make them slippery again. Now I know why you like this sports talk station. It’s like the Super Bowl commercials, the best part of the program.
That’s it. You turn the radio back to PBS.
“Signing off from the International Cat Show in Portland Oregon, this is Kristian FOden- Vencil.”
You’re going to miss your man-talkers, she says. You’ve been saving that half hour all your life, honey. Go ahead, it’s okay.
When is Prairie Home Companion on, you ask?