ROTT: Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time, I was cool. I wasn’t convinced, but a few friends verified it for me independently.

I started late in a lot of things in life. I hadn’t a single tooth in my head until I was 13 months old, and consequently, I didn’t have braces until eighth grade, just in time to make junior high school even more miserable than it needed to be.

And so, my musical taste didn’t really grow and develop until that summer when I called in a request to WLIR for a particular Police song, and wound up hearing songs like A Flock of Seagulls’ “Telecommunications” and Haircut One Hundred’s “Fantastic Day.”

And I kept listenening, and suddenly, the boy without a stereo was buying cassettes and LPs at the used record stores around the college and around Great Neck. And for once, I wound up liking something that everyone else was likeing. Except for my friend Stu, who only seemed to like proven hits, and who would work the station buttons furiously on his car stereo whenever something he didn’t like, or didn’t want to like, came on. We heard more snippets than songs when we drove with Stu…

But for once I got to be… cool. I have proof of this, when my childhood friend Jeff, who hadn’t seen me for a few years, said to me in 1983, “When did you get cool?”

And when did I cease being cool? Probably when I turned into my mother. But my cool heydey was probably when I got to be an intern at WLIR, writing short news items for the morning DJs (Larry the Duck and Steve “The Pistol” Jones) from 6-10 am. Then, I spent another few hours working for the promotions department, sorting contest postcards by zipcodes and informing lucky winners that they could come to beautiful downtown Hempstead at their convenience to pick up the Gene Loves Jezebel album. Little known fact: DJ Malibu Sue also worked in promotions. I was out sick the day OMD came to visit the station, so she had them autograph their latest album for me. I am not coot enough to remember the name fo that album anymore though–it wasn’t Dazzle Ships or Junk Culture–but the next one.

Anyway, sometime after I got a “real job” (which I hated) and I called Julie, the other promotions person, to say hello, and she said, “Hey, do you want tickets to Simple Minds?” Of course I did. Who wouldn’t? And she also had tickets for the Cure. I forget who played first, but one Friday I was at Radio City seeing one band, and the very next night, I was at the other band’s concert. At some point, after facing extinction, Radio City suddenly looked at their own facade and realized, “Hey, we’re a music hall. We should have live music here.” And so, I went to two concerts in one weekend, for free, and Bob H., one of the WLIR volunteers in the Airline room, who took requests from listeners, was thrilled to see me again and introduced me to his sister, saying, “This is Seth. He’s the greatest guy it the world.”

It is nice that in the many years since, I have made a lot of friends who have made me feel that way also. I might not be up on all the scenes I should be, but it’s nice to have all of this music, and all of these memories, and to have met so many great people along the way.

As part of my clutter reduction and general overhaul, I am taking down a lot of the old posters in my room. I mean, I am 45 and my old bedroom looks like it could be used in a John Hughes film. Plus, some of the posters scared the hell out of my nephew (namely, the fluorescent Cure poster (In Between Days) and the creepy boy from U2’s New Year’s Day single). Here are the posters, still up, but coming down soon.


One comment.

  1. You’re still cool! More people are interested in genealogy today than in Simple Minds, which makes you a way cool purveyor of inside knowledge.

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