Patsy Porco

Who’s To Say?

In Humor on August 3, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Back when I was young and idealistic, I tried to do the occasional good. (I wasn’t fanatically idealistic.)

For a few years, I worked in radio and, once a week, I would go to a makeshift studio in downtown Columbus, Ohio, and read the day’s newspaper to the blind listening audience. Some of them knew of me from listening to WCOL-AM, where I cohosted a middle-of-the-night call-in talk show on Saturday nights. I also manned the control board from Sunday through Thursday. In truth, that shift wasn’t an on-air one. I was supposed to air talk-radio programs and live sporting events. After those ended, the station aired syndicated programming.

But, in the middle of the night, my bosses weren’t listening, so sometimes I would play music and chatter on-air. I had a small following of a handful of people who would call off-air and keep me awake through the long night.

I also brought a pillow and an alarm clock, for nights when I chose to actually do my job as prescribed. On those occasions, I would sleep on the floor behind the board while the automated shows and commercials played. My alarm clock would get me up to play the news at the top of the hour. Then, I’d go back to sleep, unless I felt like doing a live music show.

So, to return to my original topic: I would read to the blind once a week. A few dozen people each volunteered one day a week. We worked in pairs, and read the daily newspaper until we finished it. It was a small operation and I’m not really sure how our audience heard us. I think they had special receivers.

When I moved to Manhattan, I signed up to read to the blind, but this time, it was competitive. I was only able to get fill-in shifts because of the demand for shifts by aspiring actors. They were cutthroat about getting on-air time, so I quickly lost interest in the cause.

My sister’s boyfriend accused me of only doing it so that I could say that I did. Was he right? Maybe. It was an interesting thing to bring up when talking to people I knew, or strangers on the bus. They always looked very impressed at how altruistic I was. So, maybe I wasn’t so altruistic, after all.

Now that I’m older and less idealistic, I know that I sometimes do things for a self-serving reason, even if I’m not aware of it. So, if you’re my friend, you should know that I’ve always wanted a full church at my funeral Mass. If my death precedes yours, I would appreciate your attendance. That’s not the only reason I’m your friend, but it’s one of them.

I’m just kidding. Or am I serious? Who’s to say? I surely don’t know.

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  1. Did your bosses ever find out you were playing music in the middle of the night?

  2. They were blind, not deaf. Why would they need special receivers?

    • Thanks for the laugh, Nancy! They needed special receivers because the frequency that was used to broadcast from that building couldn’t be picked up on the radio. If you had a special receiver, you could hear the program. Maybe it was a shortwave receiver, maybe it was a CB radio, maybe it was a microwave. I don’t know. Thanks for the comment!

  3. I feel the same way, Gary. I hope God isn’t weighing good deeds against motives.

  4. If I were to wait until my motives were completely pure before doing something good, I’m not sure I would do very much. I have come to believe it is best to do something good when we have the opportunity, and try to sort out the motives later.

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