Call me a cougar, call me anything you’d like, but you guys at The WFNX Sandbox Seriously F*cking Rock!!! Sleep deprived, shaking, I’m working nights these days so after 4-1/2 hours of sleep I’m up with a cup of green tea, dialing in to a radio station to play a contest that relies on working brain cells… but anything, and I do mean anything for my beloved Airborne Toxic Event! The prize? A coveted ticket to a very special acoustic performance by the band the afternoon before their sold out Boston Paradise show. Some 30 or so people only, with all of Massachusetts and New Hampshire trying to get in.

Day One, A.M. Arithmetic. Not having listened the day before, I had no clue what this contest would be, so when the intern asked for someone’s cell number (as in someone other than me), I froze. Wha? Good lord, I don’t know anyone who’s up at this hour, who listens to WFNX, who reliably knows even simple math (or all of the above). I choke, hang up, dejected, and then I remember my friend Wendee (hi Wendee!), a semi-faithful Sandbox listener whom I used to work with before those @#*&!s laid me off. Damn!

Day Two, Sandbox Spelling Bee. I’m third caller, 2nd caller gets it. G-N-A-R-L-S  B-A-R-K-L-E-Y. First guy didn’t know how to spell “Airborne” – for the love of god! Or he was calling from England. A-I-R-B-O-U-R-N-E  T-O-X-I-C  E-V-E-N-T, and please pass the fish & chips. “Have you ever heard of broccoli?”

Day Three, the Sandbox Memory Game. My god, is there a worse contest for me?? Computer work = Goodbye short-term memory. I get to the end of the second line and I blow it. Butt monkey SQUIRRELS. That’s all I’ll say. Butt monkey circles?? That doesn’t even make any sense! Not that the other does either. But this is the Sandbox, after all. Butt monkey. Yup, that’s about right.

By Day Four, Megaphone Madness, I’m not feeling terribly confident. Mind you, this was only a small portion of my three-day ‘FNX spaced odyssey. Endless repeated plays of Weezer and The Killers’ “Spaceman” (that alone should have won me something). Random scribblings on scraps of paper scattered across my desk and floor from Big Jim’s Big Dumb Game – X-Box Street Fighter, Star Wars bounty hunter, Simpsons Barney Gumble… Phish… Spin Doctors… Blues Traveler… Allman Brothers… barely legible snippets of lyrics. I madly google “and if you ain’t got to die, baby” and come up with several thousand hits for diapers.

So I call up. Don’t want to be first caller, no chance, no hope. I get in queue, staring at my wall numbly with the Sandbox guys assaulting me from three directions – phone, stereo in living room, boombox next to me in my office. I listen, my heart sinking, as Fletcher bleats out lyrics on a crappy megaphone that I’ve never heard before in my life. Some vague memory, a disconnected voice on the other end of the phone from a struggling caller, “Chili Peppers?”, she doesn’t know the title though. Oh god, no way. Not a Chili Peppers fan, sorry. I’m doomed. I’m up next. One of the sandboxers is speaking to me. I hear myself answer through a foggy haze, as if another person is talking. Do I stay up drinking and pining for someone late at night? Pining, maybe, not drinking. Not anymore. Am I a cougar? God, I hope not. Husky voice? Maybe a croaking voice, totally spent from a stressful job doing internet research late at night, half asleep. And then Fletcher begins to sing “Sometime Around Midnight” to me. Am I dreaming? I cry out “oh my god!” – and the song title. By? Miraculously, I remember their name. Maybe not my own, but theirs? Of course.

So thank you Charlie, Fletcher, Special Ed, and Henry Santoro. Sorry ’bout that crazy email I sent you guys last weekend, hope you enjoyed it. And much love to Anna, Noah, Steven, Daren… and of course Mikel, and I hope you’re ‘on the mend’ and wishing you warm California sunshine during your well-deserved rest. Sending healing energy your way. Can’t wait to see you guys!

Subterranean Laryngitis Blues

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