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Jewish World Review Oct. 28, 2003 / 2 Mar-Cheshvan 5764

Mark Bazer

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I just made a complete idiot of myself on sports talk radio | I am at an all-time emotional low point, feeling as worthless as a mushroom that's not tasty, poisonous or psychedelic. I've just been through something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy (though I'd probably wish it on at least one friend so that I could have someone to share my misery with).

You see, I just made a complete idiot of myself on sports talk radio.

I didn't call into the show. In the past I've mocked those who call in to those shows (Don't those people have better things to do with their lives, like me, who is, um, listening to the show?). But I would never have the guts to call in myself.

Instead, I sent the show's hosts an e-mail, since they sometimes read those on the air. I spent serious time on the message. There were several drafts involved. I even showed it to a couple of old college English professors who'd told me at graduation to call if I ever needed a recommendation or help putting down on paper my thoughts to "The Diehards" on 1510 - the Zone.

In my e-mail, I made what I thought was an unconventional yet astute point regarding a current crisis facing my favorite team's front office, and then I topped the whole thing off with what I thought was a joke.

When I was finally happy with what I'd written, I sat at my desk, staring at the screen for 20 minutes. And I waited - for that moment of reckless courage when my hand, like the hands of junior high boys everywhere with messages on their screen to girls they like, would grab hold of the mouse and move it over to the send button and then . . . click.

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In the moments after the e-mail was sent, my mind raced to the extremes - or what I thought were the extremes. Chances, were, I figured, that they wouldn't read it on the air and I'd feel slightly bummed.

But what if, by G-d, they not only read my message but liked it so much that they requested that I send in more e-mails? What if I in the weeks ahead continued to impress them so much with my analysis and wit that they - yep, you guessed it - offered me a guest-host spot once a week? Better yet, what if my team's front office got wind of my point and began conferring with me on all major decisions? I started to get excited.

As the minutes and then the hours ticked on and my message wasn't read on air, nervousness began to encroach into my excitement. And, as expected, one of my old college English professors called to inform me that I was no longer "excited," but "anxious."

Then I heard one of the show's hosts read my message's subject heading and say, "This one's from Mark in Chicago." It was game time. And before I knew it, it was game over. The message was read quickly. Midway through, one of the hosts made a sarcastic, disparaging comment about my point. Next, my concluding joke met with the awkward, horrified silence usually reserved for right after a condom breaks.

And that was it. My point was dead. I wasn't even playfully mocked. The hosts just went on to another message, on to another subject.

And that's where we are right now - my initial shock already turning into full-on depression. In the days to come, I am sure to find out which of my friends and family were listening. Was my boss listening, and, if so, will I need to find new work?

But for now, I must deal with the reality that I am officially dumber and, worse, duller than "Sully in the car," "Mike, a first-time caller" and everyone else who has ever called or written into a sports talk radio show.

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10/21/03: Dry-cleaning my mental problems away
10/14/03: This is not a bill
10/07/03: The card that gave me a life suddenly expired
10/01/03: How to abruptly quit your job in style

© 2003, TMS