A few years ago, I was a regular guest on WJYY Radio, where I interpreted callers’ dreams live on the air on the Kevin Hilley morning wake-up show. It was fun but stressful, mainly because having to interpret dreams on the spur of the moment without having time to organize some witty or intelligent retort, was a real challenge.
When Kevin left WJYY and moved on to other stations, my radio stint ended, but he often still had me as a guest on his shows, via a telephone link. Eventually, however, the invitations stopped coming.
So I recently was surprised when Kevin sent me a message through Facebook and said he was working at a radio station in Missouri and was wondering if I might be interested in doing a guest spot on his show and interpreting dreams again, live, by phone.
My first impulse was to go into hiding. That’s because the last time I was a guest on a radio show, again by phone, it turned out to be such a disaster, I vowed never to go near a radio again – not even the portable one in my closet.
Even though the incident happened years ago, I still remember it as if it were yesterday.
Back then, the invitation had come from a radio station in New Jersey, and I’d enthusiastically agreed to do the show. The radio host, who seemed pleased with my response, said he would call me at 7:30 sharp on the morning of my guest spot, and we’d set up the phone link. He assured me I would sound as if I were right there with him in the studio instead of many miles away in my own house.
Well, the last time I’d actually crawled out of bed before noon was to go vote in the Carter/Reagan election, so just to be safe, I decided to stay up all night the night before, rather than chance sleeping so soundly I wouldn’t hear my alarm clock or the phone ringing.
|Back in the 1990s|
It was the longest night of my life. By 5 a.m., I was singing show tunes to keep myself from dozing off. I watched a TV infomercial about a do-it-yourself facelift that involved some kind of invisible tape you stick under your double chin and then yank up behind your ears. I was so groggy by then, I actually ordered the stuff for $39.95.
If I were a coffee drinker, I would have brewed a gallon or two, but seeing I’m not, I downed an entire pot of tea instead, hoping to get at least a small jolt of caffeine and clear a few cobwebs from my brain.
Finally, at precisely 7:30 a.m., the phone rang. The host of the radio show, sounding very professional but rushed, said, “After the news, I’ll introduce you, then you’ll take your first call, live. Are you ready?” The word “yes” barely had escaped from my lips before he put me on hold and left me hanging there, clinging to a silent phone.
Long minutes passed, and I began to wonder if perhaps I had been disconnected. Even worse, the pot of tea was beginning to kick in, and I don’t mean caffeine-wise. I frantically eyed the distance to the bathroom, then thought against making a dash for it as I imagined the radio host introducing me and hearing nothing but the sound of flushing.
“We’re here this morning with Sally Breslin, the Dream Lady,” the host’s voice suddenly came booming back over the line. “I have Kristie from Hoboken on the line. OK, Kristie, tell Sally your dream.”
A tiny, Munchkin-sized voice nervously began reciting a dream about getting buried in a pit of colored balls at McDonald’s Playland. I had the phone pressed so tightly against my ear, it was beginning to create a suction, yet I still had to struggle to hear the young girl.
Just then, I heard a big truck, its engine roaring, screech to a halt in front of my house. I held my breath. It was my scheduled heating-oil delivery! The minute the guy started to fill the tank, my two dogs, who had been peacefully sleeping on the rug, began to bark so hysterically, you’d think that Jack the Ripper, carrying an armload of live cats, had just burst through the front door.
Normally, I just would have shouted at the dogs to lie down and be quiet, but that really didn’t seem appropriate on live radio, so I bit my lip and silently prayed they would stop. When they did, I had to ask poor Kristie in New Jersey to repeat her dream about McDonald’s. She did, and to my relief, I finally managed to hear the whole thing. Just as I was beginning to deliver what I hoped would be my dazzling interpretation, the oil guy came pounding on my door to give me the bill.
Never have I heard such vicious growling and snarling (and that was from me, not the dogs).
The next thing I knew, the radio station went to a commercial and a lady’s voice came on the line. “After this next dream,” she politely told me, “we’re going to tape the calls for the rest of the show. Then we can edit them before playing them, if necessary. You have a choice of which dream you want to interpret next. I have four people on hold right now: Mary, whose dream is about biting off someone’s ear; Wendy, who keeps dreaming that her dead husband is flying a plane; Fred, who dreamed he killed his mother; and Sherry, who has been having a recurring dream about rabbits and carrots.”
“I’ll take the one about biting off the ear,” I said. I then jokingly added, “Oh, and I’m really sorry about my dogs barking. I think after this, I’ll take them for a long walk in the woods and pretend they are Hansel and Gretel and leave them out there!”
I didn’t know it at the time, but I was back on the air when I said that…and everyone heard it. Not only was I certain I’d never be invited back on the show, I also was pretty certain I’d be receiving a call from the SPCA.
So I think if Kevin values his job and his radio career, he probably would be wise to just forget his recent invitation to me to be a guest on his show.
# # #