The Devil on Your Shoulder

Before we go any further with this blog there’s something we have to talk about.

the tap 004

It’s The Tap.

It’s just a gentle touch on the shoulder but if it comes in the wrong place at the wrong time from the wrong person’s digit  it has the potential to change your life.

I got The Tap in August 2008.

I had just finished co-hosting a four hour morning television show, the lights on the set, though dimmed,  still had a certain rosy hue and, by God, there it was….The Tap!

My lovely, talented co-host and a few other individuals got The Tap too. I believe it was very likely an SCT…a simultaneous cluster tap.

I want all television viewers out there to know that the reason why some of your favorite people suddenly and mysteriously vanish from the screen is undoubtedly because they just got The Tap.

Sometimes it’s very much like that scene in the movie Goodfellas, when Joe Pesci’s character has that momentary, awful revelation that his number is definitely up.

The Tap can be that quick.

But I actually saw it coming. I thought all the signs were there. When you witness enough people lose their jobs in one building over 23 years, you don’t need to be psychic to spot a tap-ripe environment.

When broadcasters get The Tap it’s as if aliens have instantly uploaded them to a mother ship. You’re gone.  If you’re lucky,  you’re gone with a severance cheque in your back pocket but, make no mistake, you’re not on television (or radio) anymore..at least not at that station.

There are very few long goodbyes for broadcasters..maybe if you’re Walter Cronkite you might be allowed to look into that lens and thank all the people watching at home. But even Uncle Walter got shuffled out of there in fairly short order. Dan Rather was still pulling on his sweater.

Broadcasters know all about the unwritten protocol of dismissal. We know that when it does come it will be a ruthlessly efficient and surgical strike.

I can understand why an employer doesn’t want to tip his hand.

You can’t let someone back on the air once they know they’re going to get The Tap because they’re liable to say anything. There could be some sizeable parting shots. So the end must truly be the end and the lights must, quite literally, go out.

The next morning there are happy new people in your chair. These are your new tv hosts, folks. They are not imposters. They are not pods. (Okay, most of them are not pods) You might as well welcome them. Warm to them. But don’t get too comfortable because, alas, The Tap is out there waiting for them some day too.

The timing of my tap did not prove to be fortuitous. In September the stock markets crashed,  advertising sucked back like a fetid tide and hiring freezes became the order of the day.

It was beginning to look like it might be a long road back. Frankly, it still does.

What did I do? Well, first I tried to apply a thick coat of soothing balm to my ego which, after several aimless weeks, began to look like it had gone 12 rounds with Jake LaMotta. We all have an ego but if you earn your living on television your ego has probably grown to a sizeable entity. In fact I know some tv egos that have taken on the breathtaking scope of Devils Tower in Wyoming.  Funny how these often belong to the least talented people. I’ll let you do the psychology.

My battered ego told me to get out-of-town. I believe it spoke to me in Spanish. So I grabbed my willing wife and headed for Mexico, a country I truly love and a place where I have produced two documentaries. By the time we had spent three weeks in Mexico I was so relaxed that I could no longer tie a shoelace. It was time to come back. But to what?

I preoccupied myself with constructive distractions. I painted. I renovated. I got back to doing some sculpting in stone. I tried to write something every morning, just to keep my mind active.

Eventually I had about forty thousand words of a book that recalls my more than three decades of meeting the most remarkable people. (I plan to offer excerpts from that project on this blog every month.)

This summer my garden looked the best it has ever looked. I have pruned, shaped, watered and fertilized every strand of greenery to within an inch of its life.

Hummingbirds and goldfinches have grown so used to my presence they all but alight on my ears. I feel like Snow White.

Much of this has been good, restorative stuff.

But I still feed the need to communicate. I have a couple of extremely slow burning irons in the fire but I think the fish in my aquarium may grow legs and crawl out of the tank before it all comes to much.

So we’ll talk in this blog.

And remember…if you’re crying for custom cabinetry, a stone bear or if your daisies need some deadheading…I’m your man.

The Cabinet

The Cabinet

The Bear

The Bear

The Garden

The Garden

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19 Responses to “The Devil on Your Shoulder”

  1. You know Dave…. I did just buy a new home….and I’ve got a list of home improvement projects a mile long, so if you ever get bored of your house, come on over and putter in mine. I promise, no crawl spaces.

    But, in the meantime, can you tell all of us where we can find more of your sculptures? Do you sell them?

    • Ah sweet Laila,
      Bless your little pea-pickin’ heart. (that’s for all you Tennessee Ernie Ford fans out there. Now that’s micro-targeting!)
      I plan to put a page on here with photos of the sculptures, many of which I have indeed sold over the years.
      I am always amenable to commissions.
      You should see what happens when you try to rough out a large hunk of soapstone with an angle grinder in your backyard.
      There is nothing but white powder everywhere.
      You quickly resemble Tony Montana in the last scene of Scarface.

  2. Mike Hutchison Says:

    Beautiful handiwork!

    Not to rehash “The Tap” situation, but my wife & I still boycott a certain morning show to this day. Yes, I’m sure the other hosts are nice people too, but you & Simi are our absolute favourites 🙂

    • Thanks Mike.
      Listen, you die-hard ‘certain morning show’ fans…by hook or by crook I’m going to find a way of getting some kind of blogerrific re-team
      of Simi and Dave (Dave and Simi) on this thing, even if I have to transpose the conversations myself.
      Dave

      • Is this where I’m supposed to jump in?

      • Atta girl, Atta girl,
        Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls the Mocha Princess speaks…and I love it.
        If I could find a photo that didn’t have you in a compromising position I’d get it on here, Sim.
        Send me something,
        Dave

      • ” … and the rest, folks, is history…”

      • Matthew Brett Says:

        It’s so true that you don’t know what you have til it’s gone. Every morning, with out fail, you two made me laugh out loud making everything that followed just that much easier, that much better. The smile that you put on my face every morning was shared with everyone who crossed my path each day.

        Then suddenly one morning no Dave, no Simi !! A hard lesson in the importance of telling people what they mean to you while you have the chance.

        So Dave and Simi
        while I have the chance

        THANK You both for sharing yourselves
        Dave, thanks for saying all the things that Simi couldn’t so that we could hear that beautiful laugh of hers.
        and Simi thank you for always setting them up and egging him on 😉

        Hope to hear more from both of you.

        Lots of Love and Gratitude
        Matthew

        PS: I still watch BT from time to time, but laughing at, just isn’t as much fun as laughing with 😉

      • What a wonderful surprise to find Dave and Simi (or Simi and Dave) together again.

        It has been too long and I too boycott the channel that introduced you then snatched (‘tapped’) you away.

        I hope to see or hear from you as a team on a regulary basis soon.

        Your public awaits . . .

  3. Mike Hutchison Says:

    Simi! Here’s where you make a wry comment about something Dave did, or clarify something so he doesn’t get into further trouble 😉

    You know, my employer (a university) has a continuing studies course on ‘Humour in the Workplace’ and how to make the work environment more enjoyable – you two would be ideal instructors/guest speakers!

    • Mike, where do we sign up?

      • Margot Maines Says:

        The workplace is fertile ground for the injection of humour into its often cheerless atmosphere, and the so many desperate drones who labour therein. This is definitely an area for further development~! Let’s go workhouse to workhouse, and liven things up a little…and all to the good! Happier people produce better and way more easily~

  4. Margot Maines Says:

    Matthew, you couldn’t have capture my sentiments more exactly. I still grieve their loss to this day.

  5. You got a tap? All I ever got was a “Can I have a word with you?” or an e-mail saying “Go to this room!” Damn, some guys have all the luck!

  6. Mark Fuller Says:

    Your garden could use a gnome.

    • Do you think Jerry would pose for another photo? That’s an inside tv joke, folks…sorry ’bout that. I may explain at a later date.

  7. Here’s another ‘tap’ for you – LOVING your blog, Mr. Gerry! Keep up the great stories and writing. Some good news about the ‘interwebs’ – no one can give you ‘the tap’ on your own blog, so keep it comin’.

    Steve

  8. Love Dave and Simi (Simi and Dave) each wonderful on their own – outstanding together

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