Over the past couple days I’ve been engaged on a radio tour to promote my children’s book “Chicken Cheeks.” A radio tour is a series of interviews the interviewee gives over the course of several hours at a time to radio stations across the country, calling one after the other after the other. The interviews are conducted by telephone and generally last anywhere from three to ten minutes. You might do twenty of these in a row.
If this sounds like a difficult and potentially psychologically scarring way to spend your day, it is. Here’s why: every DJ is the star of his or her own show and they’ve got their own lingo, their own bits, their own attitude, their own music format, and their own audience. So when you, the groveling, ware-peddling guest, shows up, you’ve got to adjust to each of them almost instantaneously. They don’t have to adjust to you at all. So you might be on the phone with the wacky morning zoo guys in Tampa one minute, and then a heady talk radio host in Denver the next. Once the tone change was so abrupt I had a grand mal seizure right on the air. Fortunately I was able to shove my wallet in my mouth or I would have swallowed my tongue.
Over the years, I’ve developed a few survival strategies for dealing with this difficult early morning ritual.
1. Never call a DJ by his/her name. Because you deal with so many DJs over such a condensed period of time, you might think you’re talking to Crash, when in fact you’re talking to The Dog. Avoid this particular faux pas by simply avoiding first names altogether; if you must call them anything, I suggest, “Captain Awesome.” They like that.
2. Tell the female sidekick that she’s sexy and that you have a crush on her. Women in general like to be told how sexy they are, but radio ladies like it especially. Why? Because they are on the radio. Why are they on the radio? Because they’re not sexy.
Those of you following my publishing career know how desperate I am to make #1 on any Amazon.com list, even going so far as to challenge Tucker Max to a fistfight. Until this point, and despite my best efforts, I have failed at this endeavor. My Custom Van, while brilliant, never got above #2 in the humor category on Amazon.com. But now I can say without reservation that I am number 1! Where? On the prestigious Amazon.com Children's Books>Basic Concepts>Size & Shape>Fiction category. Yes, you have to reach down four sub-categories before I make the top of the list, but #1 is still #1, baby, and my new book Chicken Cheeks is unequivocally #1! Here's proof:
Never mind that the book is ranked 4,226 overall. That part doesn't matter. What matters is that I am #1 on a list, any list! I'd like to know what book is #1 in the Children's Books>Basic Concepts>Size & Shape>Non-Fiction category. Possibly the new David McCullough. Regardless, this feels like a real victory. I'm #1, fuckers.
Whether or not I agree with the points in this article is irrelevant. The fact is, I didn’t understand most of them, anyway. More important is that somebody took the time to write this at all, which is immensely pleasing to me and the other Stella guys. We’re very proud of Stella and wish the audience had embraced it more. The fact that they didn’t is a bummer, but on the other hand it was really hard to make and we probably would have killed each other if we’d had to do too many more episodes. Maybe it’s best that there are just the ten of them forever suspended in comedic amber. You can read what I’m talking about here.
(A typographical note: I did not italicize Stella the group, but did italicize Stella the TV show, lest anybody think I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing with italics. I do, and I resent the implication.)