Category Archives: Writer for Hire

Friendly Reminder…

I HAVE MOVED!

It’s funny, I’m continously gaining more and more (two, I’ve gained two. More [one] and more [two]) followers on my WordPress.com site.  Meanwhile, I’m no longer posting here. Funny how that is. Reminds me of allowing my match.com site to expire, next thing you know I’m George Clooney and I’ve got more emails and likes in two days than I received in two years.

Nonetheless, to all of you who signed up before and have recently decided to join this little world with a little guy who has a foul mouth and a bitter perspecitve:

Please go to my new site, provide your email address on the sign up sheet which was a pain in the ass (not for me, but the guy who built my site for free) to install. When you do, you will not only receive notifications, well, notifying you of when I post. But I’m pretty sure I’m about to start sending porn to increase clicks.  And when I say porn, I mean classy porn.  You know, first time lesbian experiences at massage parlors sort of porn.

Only the good stuff for my followers!

Remember, http://shortbitteritalian.com. That’s, http://shortbitteritalian.com

And be sure to find me on Facebook under, well, Short, Bitter, Italian.

Thanks for following and thanks for playing!

-k

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The Pursuit of Inevitable Failure: Chapter Two. Heard and Not Seen. A Decade in the Radio Industry.

When you walk in, the first thing and only thing you hear is a Cha-Chunk of an obese security door shutting.

Then, an eerie silence.

Eerie especially when it’s a business whose fundamental core is sound.

As you step deeper, you realize the only lighting comes from exit signs and single bulbs going off and on every couple minutes or so.

As you step even deeper, you are smashed in the face with a smell of burnt coffee that has been sitting there for at least a couple hours.

The first sign of life is typically the man who doubles as a morning talk-show host and my sales manager.

I should say he triples; he possesses a superpower enabling him to be the biggest douchebag I have met in the thirty years I waddled across the Earth.  It is Krypton worthy.

He marches out with his short, stubby legs, weary-eyed and bitter from reciting the weather forecast every ten minutes.

“Your client played every hour, twice an hour Keith!”

“I guess they’ll definitely see some results than huh?” I quickly respond.

They didn’t.

I blame his show.

This was my introduction to the world of radio.

Radio is the only medium where everything belongs to only you.

What the storyteller looks like and what they are telling you is solely up to your imagination.

In a way, reading does the same thing. But does your imagination create a caricature of author/writer/reporter who is telling you the story you’re reading?

But I sure as shit can tell you what I think Howard Stern looks like when he’s telling me how awesome lesbians and the Squatty Potty are.

squatty-potty-howard-stern-1

Whatever they say, belongs only to us.

It’s so cool. 

It was 1990 or 91. MC Hammer was asking me to not hurt him, the Giants just beat the Bills in the Super Bowl, and I weighed as much as I do now.  Z97, the local “Pop” station in my hometown, would have an all request hour or two every Tuesday and Thursday night.

I would call like fucking crazy!

I so wanted to talk to this DJ named “Mic Spirit”. (Some of you are smiling right now.)

He would usually answer, and then, what I can only describe as creepy, he would talk to me for a bit of time.  Like a good amount of time.  He would have mood swings and use this desolate tone.  (Foreshadowing) I was 12-year-old.

For me, it was epochal.

It was my access to a celebrity, you know?

Less than two decades later, my ability to convince you to buy a Ford, then a Chevy (awkward) gave me access that 12-year-old boy would have pissed himself to have. (Little did he know that in between those periods of time, all he would do was piss himself.)

When I got there, I, like every person who works in radio, wanted to be on the air.  And they’re lying to you if they say the contrary.

For example:

“Ya, so the client, ya, they want me to voice the commercial.”

And it’s the salespersons’ first sale. (I can’t remember specifically who it was. But production just smiled at me with this appropriately condescending, “ya, sure.”)

Anyway, first, the DJ’s.  (Oh, some people are cringing.)

DJ’s have an unenviable task.

They have to be a walking, and more importantly, talking contradiction.

They have to be immensely narcissistic and massively insecure.

DJ’s go from feeling being a diety for 4 hours, only to walk out into the masses making wages comparable to the person who just gave you change at Stewarts.

No offense to any store clerk.  But, a DJ, and some are talk show hosts, are speaking to a substantial amount of people at the same time.

There is a bit of influence at their disposal.

Some use it.

Some run with it.

Some abuse it.

Some fucking suck at it.

And all are scared to death to lose it.

At the same time, there is something so endearing about them.

Their passion doesn’t know any better.

Some will tell you it’s all they can do.

And I’ll tell you, thank God for that!

Because they do something we all think we can do because we all can do it: Talk.

And it’s not easy!

And some, some are phenomenal at it.

And then they walk out of their 10×10 “Fortresses of Solitude” and get crushed with the reality that is their slightly above minimum wage life.

And they walk into “the pit”. (Sales pit)

It’s nice when the place you wake up and go to every morning is named after a portion of your body that smells so bad that if you don’t put something on it in a quotidian manner, you emit an order that…Why onions?

Radio sales, as I’ve mentioned before, you need to possess a mindset which…

I’ve been around a LOT of radio salespeople.  I’ve been in the room when print was walking on death row, and TV was kicking ass, and I’ve been in the room when TV was on its descent and digital was showing you the power of stalking.

Radio sales though…

I’ve used the analogy of radio being a delicious, solid plate of fries.  Never being the main course, just being the last thing you eat because you know you’ll be satisfied.

Unfortunately, a plate of fries cost two bucks and it’s sitting next to a thirty dollar steak.

And no matter how much gravitas you wish to present, you, the radio salesperson, your default position is your chin inches from the chest.

Radio is the middle child.

A feeling which permeates throughout the entire building.

A feeling which, like a tic under your skin, goes with you “hit the streets” to make sales.  Sales calls spend where you spend your own gas money to sell a product I just compared to French fries. And when you hear the word no, 75% of the time, you find yourself being insecure as a DJ.

It’s this feeling in the back of your head and the bottom of the stomach.

It’s this feeling of not insignificance, but the thing right above it.  What’s above insignificance?

And that’s before you have to answer to people who own you.  And they feel like they own you.

Especially in the smaller markets.

I worked for a company that owned 5 out of 6 stations in the city.

Where is a DJ going to go?

Sales will jump from one sales job to the next.  I did. I even moved to New York.

Now, did it help there was this little gal, I was and always will be crazy about, with these green eyes and lips…

But it stops being about radio and starts becoming a profession of avoiding scrutiny.

I’ve been in the room when you’re the leader of the company and when you’re at the bottom. The taste is constantly despondent, in one flavor or another.

And that’s when it really starts to suck the spirit from your soul.

That’s why I heard Mic Spirit sound like he was being religiously beaten 27 years prior.

Yet…what’s the joke about the guy who shovels elephant shit for a living and a friend asks him why he does it.

His response: “What and give up show business?”

Radio is show business!

That’s it.

Working in radio is entertainment.

Radio is for those who have a love for music unlike a love for anything I’ve ever seen.

Except for Conservative talk radio, they are the reason white guys between 35-55 are the highest rate of suicide. (These statistics are not proven…Yet)

And radio salespeople, there are many who only wanted to work in this field they love so much, and sales was their way in. It was for me. But, the love slowly dissipated.

I used to say,

“Radio is difficult, it’s not hard.”

Pretty sure you can put any noun you want in there and say that.

Except digging a ditch.  Digging a ditch, for some reason, is our default worse job imaginable.

“Could be worse, I could be digging ditches.”

What does a ditch digger say?

“Could be worse, I could be a radio DJ”?

Not all the time though…

Sometimes, sometimes you see someone win a huge prize which you were a key part of obtaining.  And their eyes water because things have been pretty goddamn rough.

And sometimes, sometimes you do events for the seniors during the holidays and the response is what Christmas is truly about.

And sometimes, sometimes you walk miles for a DJ who died way too young and will never be forgotten by his “on-air siblings” and anyone who had the honor of meeting him.

And sometimes, sometimes you co-workers become a family who took you in, watched you fall in love, watched you have your heart broken, watched you get up, watched you finally fucking graduate college, watched you get promoted, and watched you say good-bye.

candy poster

And sometimes a DJ says cunt three times at a live remote. On a loud speaker. In front of a substantial amount of “Black Friday” shoppers.

And sometimes your traffic guy meets Chris Hansen.

And sometimes your little prick of a sales manager somehow gets elected to public office.

I’d rather vote for fucking Trump!

These people, they are the ones making you laugh every morning and every night.

They are the ones who will distract you while stuck in traffic waiting to cross the twin bridges or stuck behind a tractor on Route 22A.

And all they want from you is to listen…

And fill out Nielsen rating diaries…

And buy the products from their local, small-business-owning advertisers…

And tell them you heard their ad on the radio…

Then they get off the air or back from a sales call and become egocentric, introverted douchebags.

And I love them so much.

And I will miss them so much.

Except for you know who…

Who the fuck votes for him?

Seriously?

-k

The Pursuit of Inevitable Failure: Prologue

A box of heath bar.

It’s that what we call it? Heath bar?  Anything with toffee wrapped in delicious chocolate goes by the name of Heath, right?

I personally credit Ben and Jerry with its meteoric rise in popularity as opposed to, well, Heath.

Meanwhile, the folks at Skor are calling me a son of a bitch.

Oh, and if you’re one of those who refers to it as chocolate covered toffee…Enjoy your catsup you pretentious douche.

Anyway, back to the box of heath bar, or in this case lack thereof.

Also known as the “gift” which finally caused me to quit my career of  10 plus years.

A career that saw me as the #5 (bottom of the totem pole…even though on a totem pole, the bottom is actually the most artistic due to the more experienced artist…you don’t care do you?) on a radio sales team in Rutland, VT. (#5’s don’t bill shit, we’ll get to that) Eventually though, after a change of scenery (moved to another market, more on that in a moment) I became a Senior Exec. (long tenured, suffering salesman), and finally, most recently, promoted to General Sales Manager.

The market was/is Glens Falls, NY.  A market I moved to because I desperately needed to leave a city, Rutland, which made me feel like I constantly needed to shower while exfoliating all the dead skin years upon years upon years of drug abuse and alcohol addiction created.

And the fact I’m a sucker for a gorgeous face.  Especially when it talks back to me for longer than “anything else with that?”

Recently a young lady asked me if “I’ve found everything I was looking for?”  Instinctively I wondered, “is she flirting with me?” I struggled until I heard the woman behind me ask the same thing to the 90-year-old person in front of them.

Yes, I was at Hannaford.

So, my judgment has always been a little off when it comes to the ladies.

I don’t know if you’ve heard or read.

Well, within the first few days of having a new zip code, the man who hired me was leaving and the girl I salivated for told me to wipe my chin because she thinks of me as her brother.

Which is the nice way of saying, “ya, I don’t want to see you naked.”

So, what did I do? I hooked up with a mentally ailing girl that got me hooked to Xanax. No shit. Fucking Xanax. The exact same pill a 17-year-old, LSD dropping, leather pants wearing (I had this obsession with Jim Morrison. Did I mention the LSD?)  version of me who “tried” to pull a Hemingway while writing like, well, Jim Morrison. (You ever read some of his stuff? Not that good.)

Ya, this gal “got me” (she didn’t realize she had the job of handling my life) addicted (like I needed help) to Xanax.  Why? I don’t know, maybe because she knew what I was inevitably going to do in a month.  (I have this thing about 30 days.)

Funny thing, not like ha, ha funny, well, the reason why she offered me her Xanax; WHICH by the way, this bipolar, beautiful girl, like diagnosed bipolar, well, she shouldn’t be doling out milligrams of her prescribed medication now should she? Well, I was paying for everything, dinner, flowers, breakfast, one way trips to Schenectady (shiver), so I got that shit for free! (not really, dinner was usually at this Italian place down the street where the bread and butter they put on your table is $20 added into your bill. Not literally, unless you don’t know what literally means. Then yes, literally the bill had a $20 charge for fucking bread and butter you fucking moron.  Google literally! Fuck!)

(sorry)

I was taking Nyquil and Advil PM at the time. Not at the same time.  That’s like low budget “speed-balling”.

“We found Mr. Hannigan comatose on the couch with syrup leaking out of the corners of his mouth while it appears that he was masturbating to a young ladies match.com bikini pic.”

Let’s get back to my job.

I hated my job and it was causing me to not sleep and have my eye twitch. Which I can only imagine was due in part to the former. So, instead of quitting my job, I decided to plow through by developing a psychological addiction to sleeping medications that were “non-habit forming”.(Challenge Accepted.)  One night, she noticed how I took double the recommended amount (I do that with EVERYTHING.  Because, I’m 5’6, 165lbs.  I clearly need twice as much as everyone else). She scoffed at my “poor man’s Ambien.”

Thank GOD she did because she then introduced me to her bottomless bottle of sedatives.  Which eventually “evolved” into a mild addiction to a pretty high dosage of Xanax. (mention she was fucking nuts?  Like “literally”?  Teaching moment: She wasn’t actually nuts, like an almond or cashew.  That’s what literally means.  So, if she were “literally nuts”, she would be a pistachio.  Come to think of it, if she were a pistachio, I would probably have kept her around. Swear to Christ I’m going to crack my tooth trying to open the one that doesn’t have an ass crack to it.  Know what I mean?)

Anyway, after countless trips to a city I despised. After a rapidly dwindling bank account. After days of calling and texting with no response because she couldn’t get out of bed for days! After she made me sit there and watch fucking “Marley and Me” knowing how much I missed…well…

cropped-standing-opie.jpg

Oh, and after she broke one of my two, fucking TWO rules I have for dating me:

  1. Don’t cheat on me (funny thing about that, and if you’re not aware, have you heard about my student film “Good Grief”?)
  2. Don’t do cocaine.

She didn’t cheat on me.

Instead, I did get a phone call at 6am on a Sunday with her telling me why I was going to break up with her.  She was strung out on blow while sitting on her filthy tiled bathroom floor trying to come down as others were crashed in her bed.  Something tells me Rule #1 may have been involved as well…

Needless to say, we broke up later that week…

Not before the first and only night she slept in my apartment. (you know, a man’s compelling urge to have sex one last time, knowing it is, well, the struggle is real my friends.) However, when you’re fucking crazy, I guess you sleep, A LOT!  (By the way, if you’re bipolar, you’re not crazy. All her ailment gave me was/ is a reason to call her fucking crazy. And if you’re reading, own that shit.)  Why do I mention her sleeping pattern? Because you had to lock the door from the OUTSIDE in my overpriced dorm-room in Saratoga Springs, NY. (Beautiful. Saratoga, not my apartment. It was a piece of shit that had a smoke detector 5 feet from the fucking oven!)  Think about that. I wake up, have to go to work, I have a Angelina Jolies character in Girl, Interrupted knocked out on a Hunter S. Thompson nightcap in my bed.

So, I did what any rational, clear thinking, intelligent human being would do…

I left her my key……………………………………….(…………………………)…………

Do you know what it’s like to sit at a job you hate?

Do you know what it’s like to sit at a job you hate and have a potential situation lying in your bed?

Do you know what it’s like to sit at a job you hate with a potential situation lying in your bed who is now the recipient of the Keith T. Hannigan Apartment Spare Key Award?

Do you know what it’s like to sit at a job you hate with a potential situation lying in your bed who is now the recipient of the Keith T. Hannigan Apartment AND 2006 Ford Fusion Spare Key Award? (yes, same keyring. #WINNING)

Do you know what it’s like to sit at a job you hate with a potential situation lying in your bed who is now the recipient of the Keith T. Hannigan Apartment And 2006 Ford Fusion Key Award, while chatting with another girl for the past week who would eventually become your ex-wife? (Did I forget to mention that?)

And I needed some GODDAMN XANAX!

Eventually, she left my place, and I broke up with her via Facebook Chat. That night, I was unable to sleep due to not only fear of her coming into my place and slitting my throat as I slept and then taking off in my 2006 Ford Focus;  but, what I could only imagine was a mild case of  Xanax withdrawal.

I ended up going out with the girl I was chatting with.  We fought, fucked, moved in, bought a house, married, then… Have I told you about my student film “Good Grief”?

After my divorce, I went back to school, made said movie, finally got my fucking degree but also got bitten by a rabid cat, broke up with a girl who was one of many (Feel free to read more at http://athletichippie.blog.  PS:  I’m neither athletic or a hippie, I just get stoned and workout.) thought I caught an STD, had a Prostate Cancer cancer “scare”, (it had been a few years since I had a good ole greasy finger shoved in my ass so, you know...) got promoted, went to Tony Robbins, went back to Church, realized why I hated Church, discovered having a faith is nice, stopped paying attention to everything I couldn’t control, isolated myself for the past couple years and decided to write with a self-deprecating yet sanctimonious tone, went to another Tony Robbins thing that cost me a year of student loan payments (I wish it was that little…), got back and didn’t get my goddamn box of fucking heath bar!

So, I said:

“I quit”.

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t tell the whole thing about the basket case blonde in my bed to say I should of quit that day. Even though the thought did go through my head so I could just make sure she didn’t keep my key. WHICH SHE DID!

Good for her. I was a piece of shit for breaking up with her on Facebook Chat.  (It wasn’t messenger back then, so fuck off!)

Anyway, the heath bar.

Every year, and I mean the last three or four, the owner of the company gives us a box of this heath bar for our Christmas “bonus”. Jelly of the Month Club it ain’t, but it is pretty fucking amazing!  More addicting than Xanax (nope) and twice as delicious (yep).

Well, it just so happened that my “Date with Destiny” was the same day as the “Annual Awkward Christmas Party”. Past parties have included such hits as  “drunken boyfriend of the part-time (2 hours a week) salesperson ($550 a month in sales, not much, typically the amount the #5 salesperson bills. See what I did there?), yeah, he told us about how much he didn’t like country radio (our top biller) and then told us to not sell just radio, but to tell people to buy our competition”.

And then there was “Why don’t you invest in H.S.A?” speech last year.

“Ask not what you can do for your country” worthy…

So, you can clearly see I was heartbroken for not being there.

I’m also 6 foot 2 and black.

And clearly when I got back from my six days and six nights of “Emotional Bootcamp” (where I was getting my balls inflated to finally do something)  I wanted to know two things:

  • What were the inspiring words given during the “not too bad, not too great either” dinner?
  • Where’s my goddamn heath bar?

For you see, I just completed my first year as General Sales Manager.  And thank God for my team, because in a year where the company and industry as a whole was hemorrhaging due to, well, a lot…We were up! Year over year, we were the only ones fucking up!

So, the least I could get, being the one in charge of generating revenue, was some delicious heath bar to make me feel like shit and fat before I see my judgmental family during the holiday season!

“Sorry, he took it back.”- Anonymous Source.

I sought out confirmation, and it was true.  The day after I just flew back from Florida on 3 hours of sleep, the early stages of the flu/bronchitis that would last for two weeks, and a spot on impersonation of Kathleen Turner due to singed vocal cords and the aforementioned sickness; My beloved heath bar was in the belly of another. Or sewage system.  More than likely sewage system.

That was the moment I said to myself “I’m done”.

I said it out loud too.  To my boss.  A man I absolutely admire and adore. A good man.

I’m done waking up to the initial thought of  “when will I say enough is enough”?

And if I should jerk off.

When will I wake up and not have to be burdened by numbers when I fucking HATE numbers?

 

Meanwhile, my job is only about numbers.

Before, well, before I could write. I could write fun, creative, inspired commercials.

Before I was so consumed by having to hit a number…

I had the freedom to just write.

Write commercials with a Scottish dude yelling at you why a golf course was ruining the game because their prices were so low.  Commercials where a badgering salesperson called relentlessly to a woman that wanted to think about spending 30k on a car.  Commercials where Bill Clinton wanted to fuck the waitresses and eat Prime Rib.

Now, now I have to adhere to daily, weekly, and monthly budgets.  And if we hit, nothing, I’m left alone. Except, well, not really. Because, well, I receive more emails that suck than praise. A 60:1 ratio. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t care to have my ass patted and told “atta boy”. But I sure as shit don’t like reading how “we’re a disappointment” and “need to turn the pressure up” when we’re doing what we’re supposed. (I need some Nyquil thinking about it.)

No more.

Years ago, I got 6 “brownies” during a specific type of season in Vermont where, well, things are good. Hours later, my fat, selfish ass (out of 6 brownies, I had 4, I gave one each to my roommate and BFF) was flipping out in bed while my cell phone rang with ringtone of “Shout At the Devil” by Motley Crue.  You could say I was a c-hair away from flipping the fuck out.  Then, I realized I was on drugs, calmed down, took deep breaths, and tried not to call 911 from my Satanic Samsung.

A friend looked at me the next day after telling him this story, and he said:

“All those years of drugs prepared you for that moment.”

Nice way to think of it. As opposed to, well, the fact I was actually taking drugs…so, you know, you deserved it.

I say that to say this…

I’m done wondering when I’ll be ready.

I’m done waking up and wondering when will today be the last day…and if I should use a sock or tissues.

I’m done reading emails about being a disappointment when there is ZERO to be disappointed about.

I’m done allowing myself to feel inadequate to something that will never, EVER be adequate.

I’m done wondering if I will have the balls tomorrow to say it’s over.

Why?

Because it is tomorrow.

 

Fucking heath bar…

-k

WHERE ARE THEY NOW:

The girl I moved out here for, actually we’re great friends.  She’s found her perfect man and I have a really hot “sister” that I want to…get advice from.

The bipolar girl is a mom, I believe, which means I know through photos I’ve found via Facebook stalking.

However, there is someone out there missing their 2006 Ford Fusion.

Please feel free to follow to find out when more Chapters of my “Pursuit of Inevitable Failure” are released.

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