Well, it’s here. September. Hello the 9th month of 2013. How quickly you have arrived. September ushers in many changes. Kids go back to school, hunters are out stalking their prey, hikers and bikers are enjoying the visible signs that fall is near, and it’s officially football season. High school, college, and beginning today, Sunday NFL Football kicks off. Oh how I have missed my old friends and their cute little pre-game commentary and funny skits. Terry, Howie, Jimmy, Johnny, Danny, Dougie, Boomer, Cruiser, Dancer, Prancer, Donner and so on. But it’s not about the pre-game show for me. I can skip it. I don’t need to add another 90 minutes to sitting around doing nothing on a perfectly beautiful day if I don’t have to. And I don’t. It’s about the game. So as I prep in my own way, I fix my wife & I some Strictly Organic Coffee, we sit outside on the swing and enjoy the warmth of the sun, and I begin to countdown to 10am gametime with one of my two teams, Seattle taking on the Carolina Panthers. It’s a blessed day today because I live in a household with no cable, no satellite, just OTA, over the air antenna picking up whatever the local tv stations dish up, and today, I get my Seahawks and the Packers game this afternoon. Oh happy day. So, let’s get the chips, veggie platter, maybe a fruit tray, some dogs & burgers, some ice cold brew, and celebrate the most wonderful time of the year, Football season. May your day be filled with victory!
So, yeah, it’s July 16 as of this writing. Where oh where does the time go? It seems like just yesterday I was getting ready for my first day on the job in Bend Oregon. I remember it well.
It was a late July afternoon at the old Deschutes County Fairgrounds in Redmond and I was supposed to take my microphone,(which I always traveled with cuz I was a radio guy,)chat with the people, kiss some babies, smile, and man the station booth. It was about 133 degrees out that day as the sweat rolled off my forehead, down my back, & down the butt crack. Ok, I may be exaggerating a bit but not much. I didn’t know a soul. I put on my game face and began. At that time, the Fairgrounds seemed like more dust than grass & buildings. Hell, I preferred to be in the sheep barn, and not for reasons you think. It was cooler. Maybe the hog barn, cooler yet. Don’t pigs like to roll in the mud? Water + Dirt = Mud. I keyed in on the thought of water. What I wouldn’t give to be in a pool of water right now. Maybe one of those hard hats used for safety meetings where you can put a beer on each side of the hat, pop the top, and with the help of a long straw or tube, just suck a swig of that ICE COLD BEER!
I made it through the day, and was told to expect more of the same for the duration of the fair. I was okay with that. I was on location 10a-7p like a good soldier. I enjoyed meeting people who would walk by the booth, gaze in wonder at the mysterious man with a microphone in hand, wondering if he was going to be live on the radio. I loved the fair food. The gigantic burritos, mexican food, brats & dogs, burgers galore, fries, curly fries, elephant ears, ice cream bars and treats. Mmmmmm. I can smell it now. God, thank you for this day I shouted, or quietly thought.
Almost 23 years later upon landing in Bend, I reflect on how the fair has grown. Newer location, beautiful facility, and top notch musical entertainment. I have seen some amazing acts over the years. There was 38 Special, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Alice Cooper, & Styx. Plus, amazing talent on the locals stage. Good times. Real good times. Memories shared with family & friends, all in the name of rock & roll.
Yes, if you blink, more than two decades can fly right by and you are left wondering, where in the hell did the time go.
This is real life. And I am okay sharing because you do the same stuff too!
Sitting at an intersection with Breakdown from Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. I am having a moment. A rock & roll moment where the only thing happening right now is in this car. Me, Petty, and all of a sudden, I realize I am picking my nose. Why? Why in the world must this happen to me?
In conversation with a person I know, but not real well. Good, deep conversation where I feel I have found a kindred spirit. Oh my God! We are agreeing on everything so far. Then, my mind drifts. I can’t understand what this person is talking about. It’s as if he is speaking a foreign language. I hate to admit it, but I have tuned out now. Not because I don’t care about what he is saying, but because I am obsessing about an irritation in the upper left nostril. It isn’t a booger so that’s good. It’s a hair. I will try and tug gently & discreetly and get that out of Nostril City. The city must be clean and presentable at all times don’tcha know. Oops! Not going to come out easily. Put it out of my mind. Just put it out of my mind and rejoin the conversation. Nostrildamus will wait. Don’t wanna be rude and certainly don’t want to draw more attention to my issue. Afterall, I am a good listener. Now, you were saying?
At the grocery store and not feeling like myself. I caught something that has lingered for a few days and makes me very uncomfortable. One minute I feel like I will puke, the next, I think I’m hungry. Real hungry. Already, the in-store mayhem is making me edgy. And there are people in here. I just want to get my shit and get along. Now, what was I in here for I asked quietly? Uh, um. Damnit. What the hell is that smell? That’s not me is it? Who the hell left this butt bomb in the spice aisle? God!!! Thanks a lot. You crapped and disappeared. How do you think that makes me feel? And what about the others? There are children for shit sakes! I just want to get back home. I will come back to the store later when I am in a better mood. I can’t get anything done in this fragile shape.
In the pretend world, or as Mister Rogers used to say, The Land Of Make Believe, Americans are traveling to exotic lands, buying the new Mercedes, purchasing every new gadget they can get their hands on, and living their all wrapped up in a nice & neat package Amercian Dream. We take pills to aid in what ails us. There’s a pill for everything. Who cares that your intestines may explode, your left eye may begin to protrude, may cause anal leakage, and sores may break out all over your body. But you won’t suffer from depression, and your eyelashes will truly look full. Do you pee frequently? Let’s prescribe you a pill to control that bladder. Damn you bladder. Behave! You can be perfect. A true picture of perfection just like on tv! And all you need is this pill. Right? What? No?
The majority of Americans are trying to figure out how they can make their next house payment or rent. How will I make the next car payment? Do we have enough money in the account to pay for Johnny to play school sports? And how much is leftover for food? Why is it that the food that is good for you, costs so damn much? It would be cheaper to just eat out once or twice a day. I know this to be true. I can get the substance they call food at McDonalds or other fast food providers for under $6. A so called burger, now with 100% real beef, fries, and the chemical laden liquid called a soft drink to chase it all down with for $6. My god! $6 x 2 = $12. Wow! A so called meal for $12 per day. Mmmm. I can’t get out of the grocery store for less than $50, and that’s with one small bag of what? Maybe I will get a few days worth of food. And why promote that your burgers are now 100% real beef or 100% real chicken? Why? What in the fuck was I eating before? You’re scaring me. It sure looks good on the tv. Or it did. When I had commercial tv. Now, I just have over the air antenna tv and what I stream on the web, Netflix or Hulu. Oh, I still get a few commercials that make me feel I gotta have what they’re serving up, but most of the time, I resist. Ok, some of the time, I resist. I have good intentions.
It’s a damn shame that it is legal to serve up food that is laced with additives, herbicides, chemicals, and other genetically modified organisms that cause so much damage to our bodies. They fluoridate the water just to dumb us down a bit more, but preach that it helps promote healthy teeth for life! Big corporations decide the quality or lack of quality foods we will consume. They serve crap to our kids for school lunches, they commercialize and promote everything they can to our kids with those cute corporate brand logos. Who wouldn’t want to consume a tube of goo with Spongebob Squarepants? What is in that tube? I read ingredients and have no idea how to pronounce them. What the hell is Go-Gurt? Well, it’s made by Yoplait and their branding has worked in manipulating my thought that it’s good fer ya! Let’s read the ingredients. Where are my glasses? Okay, following the milk, sugar, corn starch, gelatin, comes a list of less easily pronounceable ingredients (Tricalcium Phosphate, Natural and artificial flavor, potassium sorbate, carrageenan) and then come the really big offenders: Red #40 (short for Red Dye #40) and Blue #1 (short for Blue Dye #1). No artificial coloring is good for you, however Red Dye #40 is one of the biggest offenders when it comes to food safety. Red Dye #40 for starters causes aggressive hyperactivity, difficulty focusing, lack of impulse control. That doesn’t sound healthy. I mean, I am not a scientist but, I have watched the The Learning Channel. It was back in the day when they actually offered programming that would educate and inform it’s viewers. Now, It’s Honey Boo-Boo , America’s Worst Tattoos, Say Yes To The Dress, and, Toddlers & Tiaras. That’s quality programming where you learn a lot about Americans.
What I am learning is, I must work at educating myself and taking more control over what I consume and what I allow to come into my life. Just because the doctor/actor who portays one on tv seems reassuring that if I follow his advice, everything will be better, perhaps researching that on my own might be wise. I don’t buy a car without knowing everything I can about my potential purchase. I wouldn’t buy a home without digging to find out how much I will spend on energy costs, crime stats in the neighborhood, location pros & cons, etc. I mean, the more I know, the more confident I will be in making my decision.
We have become lazy and we just take what is dished out without too much resistance. We may bitch about it in the house or at the pub, but for the most part, we complain. I think it is time to do something. Take a few minutes daily to educate yourself on diet, climate, your local environment, your community and what is going on around your region. How can you be involved? Can you make a difference?
Whether it is getting involved with a local non-profit, or joining other activists to bring attention to a particular cause like, lobbying against a big corporation whose name is Monsanto. Hi, we’re Monsanto, and we control most of what you consume. You have a chance to be a part of a global event on May 25th. It’s called, March Against Monsanto. There will be a march in Bend and in Redmond. Most people are unaware of Monsanto but in the past few years, they have had their hands in many dirty deals and the things they are getting away with would be illegal for people like you and I. If I was polluting a food source, I would be fined and go to prison. If I was labeling a package of deer turds and calling it mini-chocolate nuggets, I would be held accountable and punished to the full extent of the law. Doesn’t seem fair.
Here are a few facts you should know. With President Obama’s recent signing of the Monsanto Protection Act on March 26th, 2013, the new law gives executive powers to the USDA that grant permission to companies like Monsanto to sell its genetically modified seed to farmers without any judicial accountability. The provision is written in a way to assure farmers a profitable and safe venture with GMO seed, but in reality, this law is designed to grant GMO producers like Monsanto legal immunity from the health problems their products will cause down the road.
Food safety advocates are up in arms. As GMOs (genetically modified organisms)fill grocery store shelves at an alarming rate, more people are growing aware of the health risks associated with genetically altered organisms. Research studies have shown that Monsanto’s genetically-modified foods can lead to serious health conditions such as the development of cancer, tumors, infertility and birth defects. Monsanto’s GMO seeds are harmful to the environment; for example, scientists have indicated they have caused colony collapse among the world’s bee population. Plants that are dependant on bees to pollenate them would gradually die off without reproduction. Not only would your morning coffee be gone, but nearly every fruit & vegetable that you enjoy would be affected.
What if we worked at getting back to the basics? Consume real locally grown organic food and dairy products purchased from your local farmers or grown by your neighbors. Mmmm. Fresh juicy tomato, yummy(yes, I said it, yummy) strawberries and blueberries. Apples, corn, all chemical free. Meats, dairy, & juices that aren’t laced with preservatives. Sounds good. Even the products that you think are healthy, because it says so on the label, well, there isn’t exactly truth in advertising. Never has been, never will be. Don’t believe everything you see on tv or hear on the radio. It’s mental manipulation. They’re messing with your mind trying to push that button that will make you react and motivate you to buy that product. Must, stay, strong! But it takes effort. Get back to basics by changing a few habits and before you know it, you won’t miss what you thought you needed. Now, let me climb down from the mountaintop and see what else I can change.
It’s been awhile since I last blogged. So much has happened in a few short weeks. Not necessarily in my life, but everywhere around me. In my life, well, same old story about the challenges of one guy seeking employment at 52 years of age. The challenge of re-inventing yourself and seeking a new career path. Waiting by the phone, waiting, waiting, and the phone doesn’t ring. Wasn’t there a song from Jimmy Buffett called, If The Phone Doesn’t Ring It’s Me? Everything I worked for in the past seems so distant now. And that is okay. Was I really where I needed to be? So what if I don’t get another chance to work in the field I loved for 30 years. So what if I don’t get to reconnect with those in the business I called friends? I survived before I met them, I will survive now. I have. Now, integration back into the real world where nobody knows your name, and you’re just a guy looking for some Peace, Love, & Happiness. And a sign that your next career path will bring you whatever it is you need. Find your joy damnit. FIND IT! There is a Lucinda Williams song called, Joy. I like the line, You Took My Joy I Want It Back.
I have spoken with many friends across America in various fields who all shared stories that echo my thought that, if you work in an environment where you walk in excited, motivated and ready to take on the day, and thirty minutes later you wish you could just exit stage left, then there’s your sign. Toxic people are bad mkay? And the toxins spread like a virus and invade your mind, body & soul. Feel it? I lost sight of who I was. I conformed to beliefs and practices that did not reflect who I was. Who I was is not who I am. I will never be that person again. I may mourn the comfort of knowing I had a steady job, and the security of a steady income, but damnit Jim, negativity, mainupulation, dishonesty, and hypocritical humans are not who I choose to call friends, or co-workers! Turns out, I didn’t really have any friends. My friends existed outside of where I once worked. Can you ever really be friends with the ones you work with? After all, your mission is to outlast the other guy, keep the paycheck coming in, and if necessary, shine a negative light on the other guy to make yourself shine brighter. Be the ass kisser, or not. I have never been good at kissing ass, have I? Trying to be objective here, but I am the only one in the room, so I will say, no. No Doug Donoho, you have never been an ass kisser. You voiced your honest and professional opinion without bias, most of the time. Sometimes it wasn’t popular but you did it with professionalism and if THEY couldn’t appreciate that, then screw ‘em mate! This is a practice I have tried to incorporate into every aspect of my life. Be honest, and expect it from others. Take it, process it, then do with it what you will!
It’s interesting when you get a sense you are no longer one of the cool kids in the building. The comraderie ceases, the deep, meaningful conversations stop. You feel like you are the guy who walks into a room and everybody becomes silent. Shhh. Don’t talk. He is in the room. Then listening to the on the spot improv of useless banter as the guilty ones try to cover up the fact that they have been talking about you, and about who is gonna cover when you are let go due to economic reasons. It’s the economy stupid! Well, that and politics. I am bitter. I am a bitter guy. There! I said it. But I never shared that bitterness with anyone until now. And going into specifics will not be productive. What difference will it make? That was then, a lifetime ago. We move on. You know the story, it isn’t anything that only a select few experience. The cord was cut and the realization that they did me a favor, freeing me from something that did not really feel long term. Snip! Now go. So, this is my therapy for today. Admitting it is the first step! STEP ONE TAKEN! Has my anger & bitterness kept me from moving forward? Nope. But it has been a part of my daily thoughts.
Every once in awhile, it is good to step back and examine where you are, and who you are. One of my favorite Styx songs has a line that asks, What kind of man have I become? Sometimes I feel like a Man In The Wilderness. When you look in the mirror do you get a lump in your throat and a wave of anger rushing over you that sets the tone for the rest of your day? Who are you hurting? Yourself. Come on man, let it go. Now take a breath and make sure you tell everyone that you are doing your own podcasts, creating content that truly reflects who you are. You don’t have to sugarcoat anything, pretend to be somebody you are not. You can play whatever you want…Really…It’s your podcast. You control it. Just what you wanted. For some reason, some people find what you play and what you say interesting, funny, gross, obnoxious, though provoking, or annoying. But they accept it for what it is. Expression. We still have a freedom to express ourselves don’t we? Tomorrow it could all change.
A funny thing happened the other day while I was applying for a job. I got a response back but wasn’t sure exactly how to take it. I wrote this amazing cover letter, not too long, but enough jib jab to give them a feeling of this being known as Doug Donoho. The cover letter was amazing, and that resume, wow! That is some resume, and loaded with a consistent track record in radio broadcasting since 1982. Who, after reading all about the Doug experience wouldn’t want to swoop in and scoop me up like a double scoop of Eberhard’s Ice Cream? Did I mention those impressive qualifications?
After submitting resume to an Idaho radio station, I get a response back within hours, which was encouraging. Imagine the joy I felt when I opened my email, and, oh, wait. The manager wrote, “thank you for submitting your materials. Why the hell would you want to move here? Here of all places.” Well, I need a job for one thing, and since I had roots in Idaho, I thought there were worse places to be. How do I respond? Hmmmm.
Was he implying that with all of my talent, ability, and passion for radio that I was better than working at this particular station in this Idaho city? I liked that train of thought. Was he saying, “Doug, you are so much better than that, you have so much talent and experience that you could be in Portland, Seattle, Phoenix or San Francisco?” Why here? Why? How do you respond to that?
Well, in this day & age, when you are job hunting, it is amazing if a few of the many resumes that you send out get you a call back. Most of the time, I get no response, and I know others on the job search that echo the same thing. You don’t want to be a pest with non stop callilng & emailing, asking repeatedly, “did you see my resume?” Did you like what you heard?” “Would you like to set up a time to visit?” “Need more references?” So I am grateful to get an email response. I just have to carefully craft my response. Why the hell would I want to live there? Good question. I could be honest and just say, hey, I need a job, plain & simple. And for the right money, I will consider moving anywhere with a river running through town, nearby mountain lakes, food & drink, and concerts.
All I know is that I need to find a way to blaze my own trail. I don’t know that I can work for the man anymore. It’s hell starting a small business, that’s what I hear anyway. What if I could get my own thing going, hook up with other like minded talented people I have worked with in the past? What if those of us who were downsized in the name of the dollar, gathered to form an alliance of broadcasting talent in charge of our own programming, our own sales & advertising, our own destiny? Would that be satisfying? Could it be done? I am going to sleep on it tonight, and see what tomorrow brings. Hey, I may have already won the lottery jackpot and all of this will just be useless chatter. I am manifesting winning the lottery. Yep, manifesting.
I remember as a kid, watching a classic Star Trek episode, The Deadly Years…The one where Captain Kirk, Spock, Bones, and Scotty are aging decades every day. Remember that one? I thought, how weird to all of a sudden realize that time is rapidly going by, and you look in the mirror and see yourself in a totally different way. At the core of that being you look at every single day, you still see yourself as you did in the first 25 years of your life. A part of you, that in your mind, has never changed. Will never change. But then, the longer you stare, you see the wrinkles, the jowels, yes, the jowels. Definition of jowels: The lower part of a person’s or animal’s cheek, esp. when it is fleshy or drooping. You wonder, where the hell did those come from? That’s not what I really look like is it? Is that me in the mirror or did some freakin’ alien invade my body? Pow! The realization that time marches on!
We all have our scars. I lost sight in my left eye at age 17. Yet, I have been able to do whatever I wanted to do, despite that. I played baseball. I actually won the Pitch, Hit & Throw contest back in the 1970s, with one eye! I drive, I read, and I blog. I don’t notice the limitations. They hasn’t affected me that drastically. I mean, haven’t. Oh, once in awhile, I catch that left eye wandering but I reel it back in. I have had staph infections, cellulitis, shingles, yes, f*&$ing shingles, anal fissure, and, well, I could go on all day, but the point is, I am still me. And you are still you. Age? Meaningless. So what? I am 52 years old. I am a wiser person than in my youth. I am more compassionate, I am more aware of others and their stupid feelings than ever before. I would like to think that the person I look at in the mirror every single day, is who I was meant to be.
I guess the point of this is, the older I get, the more accepting I am of THIS. I have done a lot in this body, and in this life, and choose to make every minute, every day count. So what if I choose to sit around and watch every single episode of Weeds or Star Trek or old George Carlin HBO specials? I need that to help shape who I am. It’s time well spent. It balances out the flurry of activity that is coming with spring. Hiking, walking along the river, sitting in the park, thinking in the park, sitting in the park, and then home for one more George Carlin comedy special. I miss George. What a prophet he was. He said, “No one knows what’s next, but everybody does it.” Every day of life, serves up another life lesson. One more day to try and figure shit out. If I can have just one more day, tomorrow, I will….What? LIVE like there is no tomorrow. Don’t let your excuses get in the way of living the way you choose to live. So what if your friends don’t call anymore? Do you call them? So what if your family members don’t want anything to do with you? You have you, right? What more do you need? You, your spouse or partner, a thermos, a lamp, and that’s all you need. And your cat. And that’s all you need.
I know that I am quoting many lines from some of my favorite movies today. Here’s another one from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t slow down and look around, you might miss it.” And that would be sad.