(Part Two of Five)
You can’t get around the obvious here. When that question is verbally asked it is clear that someone made a statement about… well, something or anything. If it’s a question you are asking yourself on the other hand, we apply the rules for finding an answer to be much more tolerant. I have a lifelong series of “Why?” and “Why not?” questions. I expect no one person with a mostly fully-functioning mind will get the opportunity to travel life’s road without having endured asking themselves these two little questions, quite literally I am certain, countless times. And when we eventually realize, much later in life I expect, that 99.999% of the time we will never really know the complete answers to either of those two simple little questions? Well, I am inclined to believe that life becomes a bit more lackluster.
On Day Two of the Mike and Glenn Studio/Newsroom tandem it became MY turn to be the d-j in the studio. It’s not like running a studio-board is rocket science or something but, when you are first introduced to that large piece of electrical equipment the sense can be a bit overwhelming. Buttons and switches and knobs and speakers and then, way more buttons and knobs! After a few passes at it the task of finding the simple and assured things required which allow records, commercials, the d-j and the newsroom broadcasts to be heard were not that difficult. I did have a bit of an unfair advantage. Prior-to going to that training school I had spent the summer of ’77 at the radio station in Muleshoe, Texas. And, as I was low man buried deep under the totem pole, I spent tons of summer hours at the radio station in Muleshoe. So the task of learning how everything worked at these Elkins Institute practice studios was a snap for me. It gave me an edge over most everyone else in the “I’m better than you!” department. And believe me, that was as much of the training as anything else: Battling the “Other D-j’s egos!” I’m so glad I grew up quiet and humble and quiet?
This is a story about Mike Dry and myself. However, I find the need to constantly interject these backstories about myself into this ever more convoluted writing. I will work on that, later. Just try and remember that every story I tell has a connection to the whole. (And you’re thinking, “Yeah, more crap writing.” Well folks, at least it’s in type this time.)
In the history of my schooling at Springlake-Earth I never read a library book completely. Why? I was a horrible reader. (There are what I consider to be legitimate excuses for some of this but, that is indeed for another time of writing, if ever.)
I remember in 8th grade having to do a written book report and we were permitted to select our own outsourced reading material. We were supposed to bring it to school for the teacher to glance at before it was given the scholastic stamp of approval but, with me being on and off crutches all through my school years I was given dispensations that other kids were not. So, I never took that book to school. At home I had a book I had read back when I was in 3rd grade. Actually, 3rd grade was probably my most healthy school experience. It was not good mind you, just better than all the rest. Anyway, it was a thin paperback book titled: Elbert, The Mind Reader! It was a simplistic and typically juvenile book about a junior-high kid who was mostly rejected by the sports boys and one day he went to the dentist, got a cavity filled and presto-zappo, every time he brushed that tooth, he could read minds. It came in very handy on the football field. Well, for a while at least.
I remember that I got a very low B on that report. But, that might have had to do with the fact that I still was not yet typewriter worthy. I still call that, “Crap Handwriting!”
So, Mike Dry is in the newsroom and I go in and out to visit and we begin the process of at least realizing that we were both still male and from way west of Dallas.
I do my little d-j introduction to Mike for the news and “Good grief! This guy has no trouble whatsoever reading!!” Now we have a problem Houston.
I began that very night practicing reading at my apartment that was only a block, make that city block, away from Elkins. The only thing I had in my apartment to read was the TV Guide and…
The King James Bible.
So, every night for the next 3-months while attending school and then for many more nights in the future I would spend about fifteen minutes reading out loud and to myself from the KJV Bible. I have become a much better reader. Not perfect of course, but better.
Over the next few days and weeks and then couple months Mike and I began finding ways to do our studio times together. And with that came all the things that can establish friendships. Now, I’m not saying there were not still things he needed to work on to be my friend but, at least he was starting. (I crack me up sometimes.)
I learned that Mike had grown-up a lot like me in this one sense; He knew how to work. And, of all the things about him that shocked me, I must admit it was the example of his youthful work ethic. But, when I met his Dad I understood. Mr. Dry had done very well financially in life and had a very large factory back in Winters. Mike had worked often at the factory for his Dad and that working aspect of life was well ingrained into Mike’s lifestyle. So, someone that’s not lazy when it comes to getting something done? I am totally on board!!
Paradox. When you saw Mike and myself doing things together the perfect word to describe it is paradox. And the reason for our spending time together outside schooling was as odd as the looks of us riding the bus together.
By 19 years of age Mike had lost his driver’s license privileges because of repeated DUI’s. No car for you! So, when he arrived in Dallas he was in the exact (kinda) same shoes as was I. We were both afoot. I had not yet been permitted to receive a DL because of my handicap and that would be almost 6 more months in the rectifying. So, long haired, dark glasses, “rich” hippie Mike and money pinching, cripple kid Glenn. I might pay money to see that movie.
Okay, this is crazy. Mike’s Dad would send Mike five brand new crisp $100 bills……….. every week! So, my whole thought in the beginning that Mike was a penniless whatever? The fact was that money was not anything he worried about. Mom and Dad saw that he had everything paid for and then on top of that they gave him $500 a week. If I had not already gone through the adoption process I might have applied at his home back in Winters. (That’s a joke Mom.)
Think about it. A young man with no responsibility financially who receives $500 every week. What are you going to spend it on other than, well since we are talking about Mike? Food and booze and the illicit. And, “I have to buy 5 new albums every week.”
I don’t imagine I will ever forget that moment when he told me that. I had been curious enough to ask what he spent all that money on and the primary answer was “Five new albums every week.”
And the insane thing about this is that I would go with him and every week we travelled back to his apartment, which was only about two blocks from mine, and listen to those five new albums. You know, Kiss Alive II and Jethro Tull and Rush (not Limbaugh) and April Wine and The Beatles and the list never ended. He had albums stacked out into his living room about 12 feet from the walls. Multiple stacks of 12 foot rows and he was only 19 years old. Good Lord! But, just wait until 1980.
At the time, even for all his money, I think the thing he most respected regarding me was that I never asked him to buy anything. Never! Not that he would have balked at it but, I got the impression that many of his back-home friends were more like mooches than friends. So the fact would be that he would from time to time buy something and bring it to my apartment and stay until we ate it. (Oh boy, I almost said ‘smoked it’.) Can you mention the KJV Bible and anything illicit in the same writing? Wait!!! I have heard plenty of illicit living preachers use the KJV Bible. Next debate at 10:00.
By the time I left Dallas to go back to Muleshoe to begin my career as a licensed and trained disc-jockey the friendship between myself and Mike had been formed in a way that I expect we both knew the future would find us spending time together again.
Man, oh man. If we had only known.