Tuesday, November 17, 2009

We're not gay. We're radio guys.

A few years ago, the two main morning show guys I worked with made a "bet" on the air. Charles bet Buddy that the Seahawks would beat the Steelers in the Superbowl. The loser would have to shave his legs in the 5th Avenue fountain in front of morning commuters the next day. I put "bet" in quotations for you because this bet was fake. Yes, I'm sorry. A lot of radio is fake. We call it "Theatre of the Mind." Let me explain how this bet was faked.

Off air, during a show-meeting, Charles told Buddy that it would be funny if one of them lost a bet and had to shave their own legs in public. However, Buddy was too much of prideful redneck to be willing to do that. So Charles said, "Fine. On Monday morning's show, the day after the Superbowl, me and you will reminisce on-air about the Superbowl bet we made on Friday. Even though, we never actually made the bet on Friday, most people don't listen to an entire show for four hours. So if I say, "Aww, man, Buddy. I can't believe I bet on (whoever turns out to be the loser) against you on Friday! Now, I gotta go shave my legs in public," people will believe that we really made that bet last week, just not when they were listening. That way, no matter who wins the game, I'll go out and shave my legs."

So that Monday, Charles said on-air, "Aww, man. I can't believe the Seahawks lost! Now I have to pay. I'll take Roth Wriscey with me to the 5th street fountain so he can describe the scene for the listeners on-air while I shave my legs."

So we took the big tacky country radio vehicle into the historic district in downtown Wilmington. However, we had to park about a block away from the old fountain that was in the middle of a busy four lane road.

We approached the fountain and Charles got in and started shaving his legs while I called into the studio and did the play-by-play from a cell phone live on-air. I chatted with Buddy (who was still in the studio) about the mayhem we were causing. A couple of hundred listeners had obviously altered their morning work routes to drive slowly by and cheer on Charles as he slid a razor up his legs.

Then the cops showed up.

Three or four of them parked to the side of the road and turned on their lights. They said, "All right boys, outta the fountain."

So I said into the phone, "I think we're being arrested."

The cop said to me, "And you! Hang up the phone."

They told me and Buddy that we were both facing a big fine and a trip to jail for standing and shaving in a public fountain. Then they started focusing on Charles more than me, so I slipped away and said into phone, "Folks I think we're going to jail. I know Charles is. I might be off the hook!"

Then the cop yelled out to me, "Get off that damn phone, and get back over here!"

I started to explain what was happening to the listeners, but the host in the studio said, "Don't worry, Roth Wriscey. They already heard the cop. We know what's going on. This is hilarious. Call us back whenever you're free."

So I hung up the cell and went to get cuffed. Just as they were starting to arrest us, one of the cops said, "I mean, what the hell are yall just trying to prove anyway?"

When we told him we had nothing to prove, another one said, "Wait, ain't this some sort of gay protest?"

When we told him no, another one said, "Oh, we thought yall were doin' some sort of homosexual activist stuff by shaving your legs in the fountain."

I was like, "Huh? We're not gay! We're radio guys. This was an on-air bet being honored. We thought ya'll knew that."

And the cop said, "Oh, hell. We didn't know that, we just thought ya'll was doin' some gay protestin'. All right, this changes everything. Just give us a minute to figure out what to do with yall."

While the cops stood at their cars alone and figured out what to do with us, I went back over towards the radio van and tried to covertly get back on the air through my cell phone. When the host put me on, I whispered live on the air, "Okay, folks. There was a misunderstanding. Now that they realize we're not gay, we may not go to jail. However, I'm not sure. I'm actually still supposed to stay off this phone, but I'm so far away those cops can't see my phone and they can't hear me talking to all of you. Nothiing could stop me from putting this on the air."

At that moment, one of the cops that was standing around a patrol car with the doors open yelled at me, "Hey, Dummy? You know, we DO have radios in our cars! We can hear everything you're saying! Get off that phone and get back over here!"

At that point, I went back to once again get arrested. At that point they were laughing at me and said, "Man, you 'bout the dumbest guy we ever had to detain. But look, since ya'll ain't gay protestors; as long as you promise us yall'll never get back in this fountain, and you give us some of those Country Coolers ya'll have been giving out all summer, we'll just call it a day."

So we accepted their solicitation of a bribe and gave them their prizes and got the hell out of there and went back to the studio. And we never mentioned on the air that the cops made us give them a payoff. To do that would have just been gay.

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