It’s been said the difference between depression and grief is that the former seduces, while the latter attacks.
Whether it’s delivered by phone, direct conversation, email, or – ever more prevalent these days – via social media; the effects remain the same. Word blasts you in the solar plexus as a surprising sucker punch. A tsunami of shock flooding away whatever thoughts had been active the instant prior, blood rushes from your head, you stagger slightly, and then the awful reality of the moment clamps itself firmly on to your psyche, a rabid dog unwilling to let go.
Shake it as you might, the jaws of grief hold tightly; the only effective tools to pry loose its pincers are acceptance of this new horrific, hurting actuality; and patience, allowing time to apply — however slowly — its healing salve.
Looking back on the twisted road that to date has been my life’s journey, one of the main thoroughfares on which I’ve traveled has been my involvement in the media.
Starting as a college DJ at UCLA, I spent decades on the air and behind the scenes, eventually ending up as a media coordinator and consultant (among other jobs). There was an expression among “air personalities” back then: “You can tell the success of a disc jockey by the size of the trailer attached to his car.” Between the years of 1977 and the early eighties, I had no fewer than nine addresses. Tribes of nomads were we, wayfaring across this vast land, U-hauls in tow, pursuing larger audiences and higher wattage, mostly in pursuit of the Holy Grail of prime time on a clear-channel 50,000-watt blowtorch.
Some found it. Most took a detour — as did I, ending up on the Northcoast of California in 1983 to program an AM/FM combo. My original plan? Stay among the redwoods for a few years before moving to the bay area, intent on afternoon drive on KFRC. Should 35 be labeled as “a few years,” there’s still time. (Of course, KFRC has been gone since 2005 so there is that.)
Over the last 24 hours, I’ve heard distressing news about two of the tent posts of my life for these last three-plus decades.
One of my closest friends has been fighting cancer. Recently, he was told there was nothing left to do, “Go home and live your life as well as you can.” I fear that a future column will pay tribute to him.
Yet, today, I awoke to find out that Pete Meyer, morning personality on Power 96 in Eureka, passed away shockingly, suddenly, without foretoken.
It’s appropriate that as I write this, gray clouds suffocate our sky line, embracing the melancholy that this community now collectively bears.