Embarrasing Moments One – The Walt Bodine Show

January 21st, 2008

Dear Readers,

CDW is struggling… STRUGGLING… to come up with things to say these days.  She has written this blog for almost two years now without flinching once, but suddenly a brick wall has loomed up in front of her and she can’t stop beating her head against it.  All she has for you today and the next day and yes possibly many days after that are her most embarrassing moments.  She is sickened by this, but she has searched both her innards and her outtards  for something… anything less obvious and has come up empty.  She also has absolutely NO IDEA why she is referring to herself in the third person.  Please send help.  Soon.
Embarrassing Story Number One – The Walt Bodine Show
The Country Doctor and I were living in Kansas City just a few blocks from KU Med.  I had at least one baby… maybe two and was cocooned inside of a nest of babies, toddlers, diapers, breast pads, and baby wipes.  I had also become a radical devotee of the radio program called The Walt Bodine Show.
You see, we did not have a television back then.  Neither one of us owned a TV when we got married and since we were such fascinating people and clearly intellectually superior to all the other people in the world, we could not be bothered with getting a TV.  Instead, we listened to the radio…  a lot…
…And wrote stories.  And played stringed instruments on the porch with the forest animals.  And painted murals.  And rescued donkeys.  And collected porridge recipes.  And built creations.  And handcrafted mead.  And went on sunrise hikes to the tops of mountains.  And ambled about the meadow with field bouquets.  And jigged.  And founded a lyrical writing society where the members had to wear filmy white dresses or breeches.  And hosted open mike poetry readings.  And came up with new types of grains to stick inside of multi-grain breads.  And gave our kids unusual names that no one knew how to pronounce or spell.  And collected morning dew.  And yes… it was a very precious time in our lives.
And Walt Bodine was the glue that held it all together.  
Walt Bodine hosted and still hosts a radio program on KCUR, the Kansas City public station.  He interviews visiting authors, wildlife experts, local chefs, parade organizers, colorful characters, political pundits, obscure poets, playwrites, artists, former sitcom actors… stuff like that.  At the time I was listening to The Walt Bodine Show, it seemed like Walt was about a hundred years old and guess what?  He is still hosting  the same show.  
Walt is a very endearing man, his voice and mannerisms are very homey.  You feel like you are listening to a beloved uncle interviewing a famous person… except your uncle doesn’t realize he is talking to a famous person… he thinks he is talking to his neighbor across the back alley… and after a while you also feel like the famous person is your neighbor across the back alley.  That is the magic of Walt Bodine.
Right before we moved away from Kansas City, some moron at KCUR decided that it was time to replace Walt with a new, upbeat, young, hip, happenin’, talk show host and the station attempted to fire Walt Bodine.  
The entire city staged a revolt.
Well… maybe not the entire city… but there were protests in front of the station.  People hoisted signs above their heads and shouted in unison “Don’t be Mean to Walt Bodine!”  You see… it rhymes… and it saved Walt… and he went right back to hosting his show.  For once, the right person triumphed.
Anyway…. after Walt interviewed his guest, he would often open up the show to call-in questions.  One time, after I had been listening to the show for a few months, and really felt that Walt was my dearest friend, I decided to call into the show with a question.  I was kind of nervous and panicky about it, and to give myself a little protection, I decided I would use a fake name.  I decided I would call myself, Melissa.
The subject they were discussing that day had something to do with pregnancy and delivery or something like that…  I can’t remember the details… but I felt there was a viewpoint that was not being expressed and I certainly felt that my opinion would be a startling revelation to Walt and his audience.  So I called in…
Screener – Hello, this the Walt Bodine Show…
Me – Hi!!!!!!!
Screener – What is your name?
Me – Uh… Melissa!!!!
Screener – Okay… Melissa… Where are you calling from?
Me – Uh… Kansas City, Kansas.
Screener – Okay… Walt will introduce you in a few seconds and then you just go ahead and ask your question.
Me – OKAY!!!!!
Walt Bodine – Okay… now we go to Melissa calling from Kansas City Kansas.  Melissa how are you today?
Me – (silent)
Walt Bodine – Melissa… Are you there?  
Me – (silent)
Walt Bodine – Melissa?  Can you hear me Melissa?
Me – (silent)
Walt Bodine – Can she hear me?  Do we have a bad connection?  Melissa?  Is anyone there?
Me – Oh!   
Walt Bodine – Melissa?
Me – Walt Bodine???  Hi!!!!  This is RECHELLE!!!
Walt Bodine – Oh…Rechelle??
Walt Bodine – Oh… okay… Melissa…   

Me – Yes… Melissa… that is my name.
Walt Bodine – Okay…. Melissa?  Do you have a question for us today Melissa?
Me – Yes….I… Uh… Oh… Um…
And I went on and on trying to back track… trying to make it all go away… trying to not be such a heaving idiot, but it was too late.  I held onto the slender tendril of hope that no-one I knew had been listening to the show that day.   A few weeks later, I went back to Lawrence to visit my sister and I dropped by the Lawrence Arts Center where I used to work.   
Me – Hi everyone!  
Entire staff of Art Center – Hi Rechelle.
Me – How are you all?
Entire staff of Art Center – Good… we heard you on the radio.
Me – What?
Entire Staff of Art Center – We heard you on the Walt Bodine Show… Melissa  (raucous laughter ensues)
I never called into The Walt Bodine Show again.  
But I still listened everyday.