Sometimes, things go wrong.
I had planned to bring you a photo essay today, part two of the trip Mrs. PopCulteer, Mel Larch and I took to the Fiesta Tableware Factory Outlet store a few weeks ago.
Mel got home from work and we’d just finished a nice dinner when a big storm blew through, and knocked out our power at the exact moment I’d sat down at the computer to begin writing and editing photos. The power was restored after more than two hours, but it turns out that my poor wifi router did not survive the electrical shenanigans, and dealing with that, and attempting to administer device resuscitation via reset buttons and such ate up most of the rest of my Wednesday evening.
So, with little time left to PopCult before what promises to be a very busy day (made busier by the need to get a new wifi router), I have decided to dust off and republish one of the my favorite self-indulgent pieces I’ve written for this blog. Over nine and a half years ago, I sort of celebrated the demise of an old nemesis. I did it without naming names, and with what I felt was a lovely punchline. It wasn’t a high point of mine in terms of Karma, but it was very, very satisfying.
Originally I had buried this at the end of a long PopCulteer, but here it is in a more prominent spot, slightly re-written to fix typos and polish it up and stuff. Since I no longer feel the need to protect the identity of the person involved, and to answer a question I’ve been asked more than once since this was originally published in late 2012, yes, this is about John Dickenseets. Don’t feel bad for him. He can’t read it. He’s deader’n hell.
Being The Better Man
It’s time for a personal story. I try not to carry grudges or make enemies. It requires too much effort for too little gain. Yet, sometimes, when somebody does something really bad to you, it’s hard to forgive.
I had a guy like that, and he recently passed away.
This goes back to when I first did Radio Free Charleston as a broadcast radio show.
If you haven’t heard the story before, here’s the quick version: After working over 100 consecutive days at WVNS-FM, with no days off, I was rewarded with the title “Assistant Program Director” (with no raise) and was given the job of filling the weekend part-time on-air slots. I couldn’t find anyone to take the Saturday Midnight to Sunday 6 AM spot, and my top-rated weekday 7 PM to Midnight shift was pre-empted by syndicated crap programming on Fridays, so I pitched the idea of putting a part-timer on the Friday night shift, and took the “dead zone” timeslot myself. The catch was that, after even more syndicated crap programming ended at 2 AM, I could play whatever I wanted to until 6 AM.
The program director woke up out of his hangover long enough to agree, and thus Radio Free Charleston was born. A mix of local, alternative, New Wave, Progressive and Novelty music, it was unlike anything heard on Charleston radio before. Within a few months it was the hottest radio show in town, and that’s when I became a target.
The sales manager at the station hated me. This may have had something to do with the time my Dad physically threw him into MacCorkle Avenue in South Charleston during rush hour back in the 1970s. Even back then, nobody liked this guy.
Anyway, at the peak of RFC’s success we had 17 dedicated advertisers, including Comic World, Budget Tapes and Records and Executive Air. There was an enthusiastic young guy on the sales staff and he took me with him to meetings to sell the show. It was a golden time. We were on the verge of landing national sponsors like Gibson Guitars, when the sales manager issued an edict: No advertiser was allowed to buy time only during my show. They had to purchase a package for spots on the entire station. Further, he began triple-billing my sponsors and turning the bogus bills over to collection agencies.
This was not only discouraging to me, personally, but it was spiteful behavior that cost the station tens of thousands of ad dollars.
Of course, eventually this jerk was promoted to General Manager of the station by the incompetent absentee owners and I quit, rather than give him the pleasure of firing me.
He was never less than a complete asshole to me, and I never forgot it. I got back at him many times. My resignation letter was dripping with arrogance. When the station was sold, I made sure that the new owners knew every skeleton in his bone-filled closet. When the man that he thought was his only friend passed away, a much-loved man who happened to be a second cousin of mine, I got to answer the door when Mr. Jerk came by, and watched him turn shock white at the sight of me.
When Mr. Jerk himself died, after being sickly and suffering for many, many years years, I had a grin on my face for days. Despite my normal, generous attitude toward people, I couldn’t spare any sympathy for this devil.
In fact, I had decided that, when this person finally kicked the bucket, I was going to do something most people only joke about. I was going to take a piss on his grave.
I know it sounds petty. I’ve only given you the rough outline of what the man did to me and how he didn’t care if his actions also hurt his radio station or the local music scene. In addition to being vile and hateful to me, he was racist, mysogynistic and two-faced. Taking a whiz across his tombstone would have only scratched the surface when it came to paying him back.
I found out where he was to be buried, got directions. and shortly after he was interred, I made a trip, downing a couple of extra bottles of water along the way, just to be sure I was ready to make a big splash.
As I pulled through the gates of the cemetary, I began to feel a sense of elation. I knew that, if he were aware of my plans, it would cause him no end of grief and pain, and that’s what I was aiming for.
But then I got to the grave and it hit me.
How could I let this cold, dead bastard still play a part in my life?
Why would I waste this much time, make such an effort, just to pee on the grave of a pathetic loser of a dead man?
It had turned out to be a colossal waste of time. Why was I letting him live rent-free in my head when he’d already shuffled off this mortal coil, undoubtedly to points South?
When I got there, I took one look, and being the better man, I simply walked away.
That line was just way the hell too long.