When Idols Die or Just Get Old.
I remember growing up and listening to the radio. I would spend hours listening to music whilst (yeah, I used whilst) our parents listened to boring talk radio. But then a new kind of talk radio hit Chicago in the late 70's, Steve Dahl & Garry Meier.
Steve & Garry were funny and often got into trouble for the things they said and did on the radio. Our parents hated them, which was even cooler. Every class clown and smartass wanted to be the next Steve & Garry, including yours truly.
Growing up disabled my career choices were limited. I knew I wasn't going to be a baseball player, a football player, or a champion ballroom dancer, um, I mean champion bull rider. I had two good options, radio or computers. I loved computers, even in their infancy. And since I was the class clown and smartass, radio had a certain attraction to me. People would often say to me, "You should be on the radio."
I learned about radio in high school, Homewood-Flossmoor High School. We had our own radio station, WHFH, 88.5 FM. This was going to my springboard to stardom, I was going to be the next Steve Dahl. Funny thing about education, you learn things. Aside from learning that it's Sophia and not Sophie Loren, I learned that radio DJ's often have to "pay their dues" all over the country working for small radio stations in small towns. Not being able to live independently or drive I slowly awoke from my radio dream. Computers were mine.
Over the years I continued to listen to the radio icon of my youth. But then I started realizing something.
Steve Dahl was boring.
Everyday was the same thing. Dahl was always complaining about something. His wife, his kids, radio management, ex-partners, ex-friends, a static hum only he could hear. His songs were tired and monotonous. My old idol was a grump, and not a funny grump either.
Here this guy was living my dream and all he could do was complain.
I turned the dial.
Over the years I would give him another try only to find the same show from 15 years earlier. Even yesterday Steve & Garry were on WGN-TV promoting their "reunion". And there was Dahl, it's too early, traffic sucks, this is our umpteenth reunion, blah, blah, blah.
I don't believe in idols. I do, however, have tons of respect for people who get to make a wonderful living doing something I once dreamed of doing. Steve Dahl didn't steal my dream, but he also doesn't honor those who weren't as fortunate as him to live the dream.