Prod512 Logo 400pxIt’s that most wonderful time of year, as the song goes. Of course, this year there’s a double-meaning because we’ll all be so very happy to be rid of 2020. Traditionally, it’s a time to be grateful for the good things that happened, or were received in the last 12 months. It’s ALSO a time of great anticipation. Kids are excited to see if Santa grants their heartfelt wishes for bikes or dolls, or these days for a new PS5.

As I began my journey of life through the world of production, I always hoped for gear. Sadly, the people who were in the habit of giving me gifts on the 25th, seldom knew anything about the gear I craved. They lived in a parallel universe where such things were considered magical and had no basis in reality…for them. Now that I’m a bit further along in my journey, if I need a piece of gear, I just get it. Santa never gets a shot. Another big difference today, compared to then, is a lot of what we do happens inside the DAW, so instead of real nuts and bolts gear, we often just hope for downloads of plug-ins. Once in awhile, I’ll see someone get all jacked up about getting a new set of monitors or a new mic, but most of my professional wish list comes in a digital wrapper.

So what’s on my personal wish list this year?

2020 tops the naughty list by far, so anything bad I did pales in comparison. Between politics, the pandemic and the politics of the pandemic, I’m sittin’ over here on the good list along with a lot of other people who, like me, aren’t used to being here. This should be the year I really cash in on the gift list, but what I want is really outside my own little world. I just want all this crap to be over.

When writing this column, I avoid religion and politics completely, but in the current environment, it’s really difficult. THAT is part of the crap. Everything is political…even religion.

A woman I know quite well had a major falling out with her cousin who is one of her closest friends, over a FaceBook post in support of one of the Presidential candidates. A late night call came in from the cousin saying, “How can you support him,” and it all deteriorated rather quickly making my friend feel very alone and cut off from her best friend. That is crap of the worst kind. Thankfully they have since come to their senses and agreed to not talk politics ever again. (Less crappy, but really?)

People whose production skills I admire greatly have made it clear on social media what their views are on these two topics and because their views are different from mine, I avoid talking to them for fear of politics or religion might come up. THAT is part of the crap. In most cases they are people I’ve had very congenial conversations with in the past at conventions, on the phone and on email, but I’m afraid to have the simplest chat now. That really sucks.

During the election just past, I had a few neighbors who proudly put signs in their yards in support of their favorite candidate, as I did. I often see them when I’m out on my daily 5-mile walk, but we hardly ever get past a “good morning” conversationally. THAT is part of the crap.

I used to think the name Karen was a nice name, but now it’s become a term with extreme negative connotations. I have a couple of friends named Karen that I hesitate to call by name anymore. THAT is part of the crap.

The absolute division in this country is heartbreaking. Half of the people blame the other half for it, while the other half blames the first half. I’m pretty sure that in this case, two halves do NOT make a whole. There’s plenty of blame to go around on that. That too is part of the crap.

Was there cheating during the election? I suspect there is always some cheating, but by some accounts, there are people who have taken it to a whole new art form. I don’t KNOW that it changed the outcome of the election, but I am curious to understand why the folks who say there wasn’t any cheating are so resistant to finding out for sure. I want to know, either way. It’s kind of important. I would really hate it if I found out that my candidate cheated to win after he was inaugurated.

I guess what’s gnawing at me most is that we as a nation have become so insular and disconnected from each other that we don’t have some conversations. Not that we can’t, but nobody on either side of a debate wants to be branded an extremist, so we don’t. It’s just easier to not say anything. We go along to get along and that’s definitely part of the crap.

HOWEVER, in spite of the crap, I truly have much to be grateful for in 2020.

I’m in a loving relationship with a woman who has put up with more of MY crap than any human should have to endure. We’ve been married 33+ years and “we never had a fight.” (Um…mostly.)

George Burns once said, “Happiness is having a large, loving, close-knit family…in another city.” I’m the picture of happiness with such a family spread across Texas, North Carolina, Idaho, Florida and soon in Oklahoma. We all stay in touch as best we can, usually via FaceTime. Sometimes I get a real treat like a vacation on Myrtle Beach or in Yellowstone Park. Today, as soon as I finish writing this column, I am going to take one of my granddaughters to lunch at our favorite wings joint.

I am grateful in the extreme for this profession. I can’t think of any other job on Earth where I can sit in a room and play with toys all day and still get a paycheck every month. I am gainfully employed by dozens of radio stations around the world as well as the editor of this fine publication. My thankfulness extends to you dear reader for making the existence of Radio And Production possible.

I am alive and probably healthier than I’ve been my whole life. A few years ago, death came knocking at my door in the form of a heart attack, but an amazing family and some incredibly gifted physicians turned the Grim Reaper away. I know he’ll be back one day, “Death and taxes” don’tcha know, but until that time, I feel better than I have in a long, long time.

Although it’s been said many, many times before, all I really want this holiday season is Peace On Earth, Good Will Toward Men. (Women too!)

I usually try to end each of these columns with a bit of light humor. This time I was going to make a funny about COVID, but more than 99% of the world will never get it…so never mind.